Samuel Searcy, Founder & CEO of CliniStart, sat down with me in this live Fireside Chat to explore trends, current gaps, and future predictions for clinical trials. Among many other things, we dived into tips for founding and leading a successful startup during a global pandemic, including his tips for building company culture virtually and why diversity and an open work environment are key.
Here is a sneak peek of our conversation:
Q: You mentioned something really important in the beginning, Sam. You were saying the company started initially due to a problem statement. You have a lot of experience with pharma, sponsors, and clinical research organizations trying to do clinical trials. You were doing this before COVID. What was the problem statement or what were some of the difficulties or challenges that these various organizations were running into as trying to do clinical studies?
A: That’s a wonderful question! Something that we run into over and over again, and you’ll hear about is, “study startup”. Anyone who has been in the industry for more than 12 months has heard something about study startup. We’ve looked at it from thousands of different angles I feel like as an industry, but the rate-limiting factors of study startup tend to be the contract, the budget, and the negotiation process.
Our thought was, “If we can create the technology piece to help make us more efficient in that role and also hire the best people to provide the service, we feel like we’re speeding up clinical trials.” Because, our core competency lies in that contract and budget negotiation skill, layered in with the technology piece that gets us through the study startup process faster.
I think there is no better example of that than the pandemic. I mean, when all the vaccine trials started coming out, it was unbelievable how quickly we were getting studies up and running. Now, granted, a vaccine trial is obviously very different from a rare disease trial because you can basically recruit whomever to take the vaccine. So, the recruitment piece was easier. I think we’re still looking and analyzing as an industry how quickly we were able to get studies up and running and asking ourselves, “Why can’t we do that on everything?” or, “Why can’t we be that quick with a rare disease indication or another cardiovascular study?”. That’s an area of focus that we’re still looking at.
There is kind of a trend, in the industry that we’re starting to see companies – not necessarily just like ours, but similar to us – hyper-focus on one area of the clinical process, get extremely good at it, and then be able to add value through those services.
For more of our discussion, you can watch the whole Fireside Chat with Samuel Searcy, or listen to the podcast version, below.
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