ConcertAI sings a unicorn tune as the FDA-partnered clinical trials software upstart expands
The crescendo is building at ConcertAI as the artificial intelligence life sciences startup reels in its ensemble to boost clinical study diversity, expand decentralized clinical trials and pile on the real-world data for cancer treatments.
The FDA-partnered upstart raised a $150 million Series C, soaring into unicorn status to a $1.9 billion valuation, to take its tech on a worldwide tour. The current set list of 45 biopharma and contract research organization customers is not enough for the five-year-old Cambridge, MA, company.
“While we started off as a data-centric organization, we’ve really been advancing as much more of a technology-centric organization,” CEO Jeff Elton told Endpoints News. A former Accenture global managing director and North America life sciences leader, Elton is a board member of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council.
A Bristol Myers Squibb tie-up, an FDA partnership on real-world outcomes of oncology treatments, an expanded multi-year collaboration with J&J’s Janssen — to increase trial diversity and ramp up wider access to trials — and an acquisition of TeraRecon, which serves 1,300 clinical trial sites worldwide, were all major milestones in 2021 that paved the route for a major capital haul this year. Expect more deal flow as ConcertAI aims to be a “positive, strong acquirer,” Elton said.
The company brought in new investor Sixth Street because of its software-as-a-service and life sciences expertise, Elton said. One notable group that ConcertAI hasn’t targeted for investment: biopharmas and diagnostics companies.
“We’ve really tried to maintain ourselves as neutral, and when you’re doing work between providers and biopharma, that neutrality actually means trust and that neutrality means you can play a more important role as you go forward, and that’s not true of a lot of the groups that we tend to see in our ecosystem,” Elton said.
ConcertAI says its software has been involved in about 40 new product launches; increased patients’ time on therapy by 10%; and shrunk time for study design and clinical trial execution by up to 25%. The 1,000-employee company has been growing on average “a little north of 40%” per year, Elton said.
As the startup matures, Elton said ConcertAI will build out its commercial team while remaining a science- and clinical expertise-led company.
Aside from the FDA, pharmas and CROs, ConcertAI’s tools are also deployed at medical societies and other regulators across Europe and Japan, too. Growth will come in Asia-Pacific and Latin America next, Elton said. Its tech is used on both pivotal and post-approval trials.
“Over the past two years, we’ve focused on novel clinical research solutions with the potential to accelerate the time from study initiation to regulatory decision, increasing our overall innovation capacity. This will allow us to reach more patients and accelerate life-changing cancer therapies to benefit patients globally,” said Marisa Co, VP of R&D business insights and analytics at Bristol Myers, in the news release.
JPM 2020 was the last time the startup boasted of a funding round, securing $150 million in financing in the months leading up to the pandemic. Following the latest financing, investors include Sixth Street, Declaration Partners, Maverick Ventures, AllianceBernstein PCI, SAIGroup and others.