Paris-based Inato raises €1.3 million to lower drug prices through better clinical trial recruitment

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The French startup Inato has raised €1.3 million for its AI-based data collection tool for the pharmaceutical sector. The fresh capital has been injected by Serena Capital, Fly Ventures, Kima Ventures, Criteo cofounder Franck le Ouay, and Talend cofounder Bertrand Diard.

With a unique tool for collecting and analyzing data used in clinical trials, Inato’s AI-powered platform lets pharmaceutical companies drastically reduce drug development costs. By accelerating clinical trials, Inato helps new therapies arrive to patients faster, and at lower prices. The Paris-based company was founded in 2015.

Kourosh Davarpanah, the co-founder and CEO of Inato explained: “Over 30,000 clinical trials happen around the world each year and big pharma companies spend up to 15% of their annual revenues financing them. A single trial can cost up to $500 million. A huge portion of time and resources for a trial goes into patient recruitment, but it’s still mostly ‘What did we do before?’ instead of ‘What’s best right now?’”

The successful conduct of clinical trials is a prerequisite for any new drug to obtain marketing approval. For conclusive results, clinical trials often have to recruit hundreds or even thousands of patients across numerous hospitals in multiple countries. Thus site selection is critical, yet today roughly 30% of sites selected fail to recruit a single patient. Estimates suggest that this type of inefficiency drives up total trial costs by roughly 25%.

Inato solves this problem by bringing real improvement in three areas:

  • Automation: Data collection, structuring and analysis is entirely automated;
  • Trust: Algorithms cross-check dozens of data sources to improve data reliability;
  • Intelligence: In-house AI provides personalized insights that allow Inato’s clients to focus on tasks where they can leverage their expertise.

“Our system takes into account over 200,000 hospital departments housing more than 1.2M investigators with experience in 900,000+ trials.” Davarpanah noted. “That’s way more than is done today, and it gives a much more exhaustive look at potential sites while also providing more accurate predictions for how many patients each site will recruit.”

Saving money on clinical trials is already an important question given the financial pressures placed on health care systems around the world regarding drug costs for their citizens. And recruitment in particular is poised to become a critical issue as drug discovery aims at specific diseases with the latest medical breakthroughs.

Dr Jean-David Zeitoun, the co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of Inato commented: “Increasingly, industry players are trying to move into “precision medicine”, with treatments targeting more precisely defined patient groups (in terms of disease, personal characteristics, etc.). Consequently, clinical trials have to draw from narrower patient pools, and drugs’ addressable markets are shrinking.”

According to Inato, aiming at site selection has already started paying off. In addition to the new fundraising round, Inato has already signed several contracts with major players in the pharmaceutical industry, was selected among 450 candidates to receive Sanofi’s prize for the Best Health Startup using Big Data, and is one of the top 40 startups out of 1000 global candidates that has been shortlisted to work with Bayer.