Venture

Serena, Obvious Ventures Invest In This Clinical Trial Marketplace’s $14M Series A

Inato wants to make clinical trials, which often tackle the most complex of diseases, more inclusive of all patients. The startup, founded in 2016 in Paris, France, has raised $14 million in a Series A, led by Obvious Ventures and Cathay Innovation. Serena and Fly Ventures participated in the round as well.

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According to the company, the annual number of operating clinical trial sites–often research stations or hospitals–per million people is 250 times higher in the United States versus low-income countries. Plus, wealthier patients are almost twice as likely to be referred versus non-wealthy patients.

To address the gap, Inato says it’s unlocking previously unengaged research sites and connecting them to patients available for clinical trials. And by partnering with pharmaceutical companies, Inato says it can help treatment get into the hands of more patients and eventually to the general public.

Inato is bringing concentration of clinical trial access away from the richest and the biggest, and claiming it is keeping the merit of clinical trials at the forefront. In the simplest terms, Inato is freeing up research sites and connecting patients available for clinical trials. The company estimates “there are thousands of sites around the world that are fully capable of recruiting patients but are currently not taking part in the research process,” according to Kourosh Davarpanah, co-founder and CEO.

Double-clicking into a common strategy employed by startups like Airbnb, Hipcamp and AirGarage, Inato is unlocking previously existing land for commercial use. And Obvious Ventures admits it, too: “There is a long history of manual, inefficient marketplaces being streamlined by technology – clinical trials is next, and may be the most important category of them all,” Nan Li, managing director at the firm, said in a release.

The company claims more than 3,500 doctors across 75 countries have used it to offer treatment to patients. As for competitors, Davarpanah said the biggest one is “the status quo.”

“Ultimately, we all benefit sooner from innovative therapies,” Davarpanah told Crunchbase News. “The status quo is CROs and pharma companies going back to the same sites despite poor performance.”

With the new funding, he said, Inato will expand its network of clinicians, and currently exists in 80 countries so far. Also, while the company is based in France, its recently opened New York office will focus on its U.S. presence.

In order to make money, Inato sells services to pharmaceutical manufacturers who not-so-surprisingly want to get their products tested.

Finally, Inato added it is “very close to being profitable, which is quite rare for a company at our stage.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

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