With backing from Bayer, a London firm will pitch its 'hospitals at home' concept for decentralized trials
Money is flying for companies promising to revolutionize the way clinical trials are conducted. Leaps by Bayer is the latest to get behind one of these players, leading a $200 million venture round for Huma Therapeutics and its digital “hospital at home” tech.
London-based Huma unveiled a $130 million Series C on Wednesday, which it will use to expand its digital platform in the US, Asia and the Middle East. As part of the round, the company can exercise another $70 million commitment later on.
“We’re already demonstrating how ‘hospital at home’ can transform healthcare, and how decentralized clinical trials can advance research in ways that weren’t imaginable even one year ago,” CEO Dan Vahdat said in a statement. “Now we want to accelerate the pace of change and continue to innovate for better care and research worldwide.”
Huma boasts wearable technology and a patient app that helps researchers prescreen participants, conduct remote visits via telehealth, track medication and collect real-life data. The company says its platform can double clinical capacity and reduce hospital readmissions by over a third, with patient adherence levels of over 90%.
Hitachi Ventures led the round along with Leaps by Bayer, and new shareholders include Samsung Next, Sony Innovation Fund by IGV, Unilever Ventures, HAT Technology & Innovation Fund, Nikesh Arora (former president of SoftBank) and Michael Diekmann (chairman of Allianz).
Huma isn’t the only tech developer attracting investors with its decentralized trial approach. Last week, Science 37 landed unicorn status when it agreed to a SPAC merger with LifeSci Acquisition II Corp. According to a report Science 37 conducted itself, CEO David Coman said more than 80% of biopharma companies plan on conducting a clinical trial using at least some decentralized elements this year, though nearly 60% don’t have the internal capabilities to do it.
Back in February, Dublin-based CRO Icon struck a deal to acquire PRA Health Sciences for $12 billion to focus on decentralized trials — a move which would combine the 5th- and 6th-largest CROs by 2020 revenue. Last month, Thermo Fisher announced plans to acquire PPD — a CRO that boasts decentralized trial capabilities — for $17.4 billion. And back in November, software provider Medable bagged a $91 million Series C to build out its virtual trial platform.
“The pandemic has exposed weaknesses across health systems around the world but through collaboration, innovation, and compassionate leadership Huma can support faster and safer care for patients through digital technologies and rapid access to treatments by accelerating clinical research,” Huma’s board director Claudia Suessmuth Dyckerhoff said in a statement.