In February 2016, e-Patient Network raised £649,665 to develop its platform, Raremark, to help source patients with rare diseases for clinical trials while simultaneously providing a support resource for both patients and families.
Worldwide, 90% of all clinical trials conducted by pharmaceutical companies fail to enrol patients within a preferred timeframe, leading to costly extensions, whilst more than 75% fail to recruit their target volume of participants. By definition, seeking patients for the treatment of rare diseases is even harder, since the pool of patients is by definition a lot smaller.
e-Patient Network is addressing these problems with Raremark: a platform that allows pharmaceutical companies to quickly and easily recruit patients with rare diseases for clinical trials, charging the companies on a per recruitment basis. On the flipside, Raremark empowers patients suffering from rare diseases (as well as their families) through an online community where they can find reliable information about their illnesses, receive support and engage with other sufferers of the same disease.
The platform is the brainchild of Julie Walters, its Co-founder, who was galvanised into action following her god-daughter’s experience of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) when she was just two years old. Her family struggled to find reliable information about the condition and treatment, and was unable to speak with any other families affected. With the help of some brilliant medical professionals, Sophie has become a healthy adult, and Julie now hopes to ensure that millions of other families can find the help they need.
Where are they now?
Raremark went live in early February 2016. Shortly afterwards it announced its partnership with Cambridge-based charity Findacure. Together, the two entities will create the first digital, medical patient timeline, allowing patients to explain their complex medical history to doctors - an otherwise arduous process.
In May 2016, Raremark received a £680,000 investment enabling the platform to launch hundreds of communities to help those affected by rare diseases, and to expand into the US later this year. The investment was led by the Cass Entrepreneurship Fund.