e-Patient Network connects rare disease patients with reliable online information and clinical trial opportunities through the Raremark platform.
e-Patient Network overfunded to £470,374 via a lift round on SyndicateRoom in August 2017, to scale its rare disease communities and support plans for expansion into the US.
In February 2016, e-Patient Network raised £649,665 via SyndicateRoom to develop its platform, Raremark, while simultaneously providing a support resource for both patients and families. e-Patient Network connects rare disease patients with reliable online information and clinical trial opportunities through the Raremark platform.
e-Patient Network is an established company with a big vision: to make the world a healthier place by empowering people to share knowledge and experience. The company was founded in 2007 to solve a big problem in clinical trial recruitment: major and costly delays in drug development; typically, in late-stage trials sponsored by mid- to large-sized pharmaceutical companies.
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.
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.
e-Patient Network CEO Julie Walters is the driving force behind Raremark and leads on product strategy. Julie has a 1st-class degree in molecular genetics from King’s College London and a background in popular journalism, including a spell as a news editor on TV’s Good Morning Britain.
The lead investor
Lead investor Pam Garside is a strategy consultant in the health sector in the UK and the US, a Fellow of the Judge Business School of the University of Cambridge, and an Adjunct Professor at Imperial College Business School. As an angel investor, she currently holds eight active investments within the health tech space.
Raremark has significant patient benefit for those with rare diseases, and the pharma companies are extremely interested in rare disease and access to patient groups for trials. A trade sale within the clinical research and healthcare industry is the most likely exit scenario within the next two to three years; either to an international Contract Research Organisation (CRO), or to a healthcare data specialist.
Pam Garside, e-Patient Network lead investor
What investors say
'Julie Walters is an experienced entrepreneur with a long track record of selling into the pharma industry and delivering value both for clients and patients. There is significant opportunity to scale this business by developing the platform. I'm very happy with the progress the company has made, so am delighted to follow-on from my original investment in this round and to help improve the lives of people suffering from rare disease.'
– Sarah Turner, angel investor
The Cass Entrepreneurship Fund have provided a testimonial on why they chose to invest again in the company:
'The Cass Entrepreneurship Fund initially invested in e-Patient Network in 2016, primarily to support the development and launch of the Raremark platform. Raremark provides an innovative service for often underserved patient communities, and generates meaningful insight through anonymised data collection and market research services. These services, data and know-how are used by a range of global pharmaceutical and CRO (Clinical Research Organisations) clients in support of drug R&D activities and clinical trial design.
The Cass Entrepreneurship Fund is investing in this round, and remains supportive of the business and management. e-Patient Network continues to serve a number of large, global pharmaceutical and smaller CRO clients across its broader patient recruitment and clinical trial support division, Tudor Reilly Health, and its innovative and specialist rare disease business unit, Raremark.
We believe e-Patient Network continues to address a meaningful commercial need in a high value segment of a large global industry. This investment round will help the business to more fully exploit the growing opportunity set within clinical trial recruitment, data and patient insight'.
– Cass Entrepreneurship Fund