Wellesley, Massachussettes-based 4G Clinical closed a $230 million growth equity round led by Goldman Sachs Asset Management — the software company’s first raised from a large institutional investment.
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4G Clinical provides software and services for clinical drug trials. Specifically the company is in the randomization and trial supply management (RTSM) space — in layman’s terms the software helps pharmaceutical companies manage issues involving dosage, which patients receive the placebo and who gets to see what data to maintain the integrity of the trial.
The 230-person company — which grew revenue nearly 110 percent last year — was looking at raising money later this year, but was receiving significant interest from potential investors as the clinical trial and pharmaceutical markets attracted more and more interest, said founder and CEO David Kelleher.
“I was fielding too many calls,” said Kelleher, adding the company eventually drafted a list of about a half dozen large growth equity partners it wanted to work with and expedited the timing of the raise.
Mike Reilly, a vice president with Goldman Sachs Asset Management, said his firm’s team has been following the RTSM market and broader eClinical software space for several years now.
“4G Clinical immediately stood out as a company that we wanted to partner with due to their best-in-class product offering, experienced management team and favorable market tailwinds for eClinical software providers,” he said.
The impact of COVID
One reason the market started to heat up was that COVID-19 shined a spotlight on the drug development industry as a whole, Kelleher said.
“I think it’s fair to say COVID probably opened some eyes,” he said.
While COVID and its vaccines have become headline grabbers, only about 10 percent of 4G Clinical’s portfolio last year was COVID-19 related, Kelleher said. The company currently works with more than 100 customers and is involved with more than 250 clinical studies, he added.
Taking part in drug development and clinical trials is more than just a business for both Kelleher and his co-founder Ed Tourtellotte. The two started the company in 2015 after successful consulting careers, but also both having been affected by disease diagnosis.
Kelleher had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) when he was in his twenties, while Tourtellotte had recently lost his wife due to cancer. The two decided to put their knowledge of management and technology consulting to work to help expedite clinical trials and get drugs to the people that needed them.
“We thought there was a way to make this move faster,” Kelleher said.
4G Clinical is one of the newer companies in the RTSM space, which has large players such as Oracle and Medidata Solutions, Kelleher said. However, he adds since the company is newer it also has a modern technology stack that helps set it apart from other companies.
“We have a very modern technology stack,” Kelleher said. “I think that gives users more flexibility and speed.”
That flexibility is important, Kelleher said. The company’s philosophy when building the platform was to ”let science lead the way” — meaning giving power to the researcher to do their job how they think is necessary and help with technological limitations.
“We wanted to let the researcher have creativity,” he said. ”We don’t want the software to get in the way.”
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias.
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