Research technology company uMed has raised £3.7m in venture capital to help healthcare providers in the UK and US, including GPs, hospitals and health specialists, run patient research more efficiently while safeguarding patient data and ensuring regulatory compliance.
VC investors AlbionVC, Delin Ventures and Playfair Capital are backing uMed’s latest round of funding, along with Silicon Valley’s 11.2 Capital to reinforce the company’s US presence.
uMed is already delivering its technology to a number of clinical research studies including the University of Oxford-led RAPTOR-C19 study, part of the national priority CONDOR platform evaluating the use of COVID-19 diagnostics in different settings. RAPTOR-C19 is comparing the accuracy of different rapid tests for Covid-19 among patients in community settings, such as GP surgeries. These findings are informing the scaling up of testing in the UK, which is a key priority in helping scientists better understand and control Covid-19 transmission.
The uMed platform provides the functionality required to digitally target and engage patients for this study, enabling e-consent and the automated capture of structured outcomes remotely which are linked back to the data from each patient record. This ensures the efficient execution of the study across a large number of sites, and creates the capacity for healthcare providers to participate in many more of these studies than would otherwise be possible. The recent announcement by Pfizer/ BioNTech of their record-breaking sprint to reach positive results for a Covid-19 vaccine underlines how important it is in a health crisis to accelerate innovation timelines and scale.
uMed’s founder and CEO, Dr Matt Wilson, a former NHS anaesthetist and Medical Officer in the Royal Marines, created the technology platform to connect life science researchers with healthcare providers and their patients. It is already embedded across a rapidly expanding global network that includes 1.7 million patients in more than 160 primary care sites in the UK, along with two million patients from a large US health system available from early next year.
uMed’s platform automates the clinical study process, creating regulatory quality patient registries that combine electronic health data with structured data captured from each patient which can include genomic and biomarker samples. This automation allows all healthcare providers from small GP practices to large hospitals to participate in multiple research programmes simultaneously; supporting enhanced research revenue without increasing overhead or burdens on clinical teams.
Medical research studies can cost many millions of pounds each, and up to 80% of these costs are associated with manual processes delegated to healthcare providers which uMed could eradicate while safeguarding data. This means life science organisations are able to rapidly build high quality datasets that go beyond real-world data vendors, allowing researchers to augment health records with additional structured data captured from patients at home. This is achieved without exposing patient identity and ensuring key steps such as patient consent.
Dr Wilson says: “Our technology can support healthcare providers in finding appropriate patients to participate in medical research including large scale patient registries which usually demands laborious, manual processes on top of their already complex and heavy workloads.
“As our technology is uniquely able to reach back compliantly from the Electronic Health Record (EHR) to the patients, the process for building research registries can be heavily automated. It means clinicians can focus on patient care, while patients are given the opportunity to participate in many more studies from home with full transparency over use of their health records.”