NEW YORK — TrialSpark, a biotech company that looks to speed up the process of bringing new medicines to market, has raised $156 million in Series C funding. Sam Altman — former President of Y Combinator — and investor Lachy Groom led the round, with participation from new and existing investors, including Sequoia Capital (Series A lead), Thrive Capital (Series B lead), Casdin Capital, Dragoneer, Section 32, John Doerr, Spark Capital, Felicis Ventures, Sound Ventures, Arrowmark, and previous investors.
TrialSpark is building a next generation pharma company focused on bringing new treatments to patients faster and more efficiently. Despite the sweeping technological changes transforming biotech, bringing a new drug to market still takes longer than ten years and costs billions of dollars. The time and costs of development continue to increase, contributing to rising drug prices, inflated healthcare costs, and, ultimately, decreased access to treatments for patients.
TrialSpark is building a full stack pharma company that can develop drugs in-house faster and more efficiently than traditional pharma companies, driven by the belief that every day saved in the clinical trial process is one day sooner that a patient can access a life changing treatment.
“A lot of people complain about the mournful cost of bringing a new drug to market, but TrialSpark is actually doing something about it,” said Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI and former Y Combinator President. “Clinical trials are needlessly complex and expensive, and this directly contributes to the cost of drugs and keeps many promising drugs from ever coming to market. TrialSpark can fix this.”
The company will use the Series C funds to acquire and/or partner on clinical stage pharmaceutical assets to develop through their in-house clinical trial platform, and also to invest in biotech companies with promising drug candidates ready for development. Countless excellent drug candidates sit on shelves due to the prohibitive cost and duration of traditional clinical trials, and TrialSpark is uniquely positioned to give those treatments a chance to reach patients.
Since its launch in 2016 by CEO Benjamine Liu, a Yale and Oxford-trained computational biologist and CTO Linhao Zhang, a veteran of Salesforce and Oscar Health, TrialSpark has built a clinical trial engine that offers enhanced study quality and speed through real-time access to data, innovative trial design, and operational agility. The TrialSpark tech platform integrates the front-end of trials (recruitment, eConsent, eSource) with the back-end (data management, monitoring, and biostats) to eliminate siloed study data. The result is 50% faster study timelines and 95% of patients unlocked who were previously unreached by clinical trials.
“Trialspark is building a new type of pharma company that has the potential to dramatically expand patient access to new treatments and align key stakeholders in drug development,” said Kareem Zaki, General Partner at Thrive Capital. “We are excited to be on this consequential and ambitious journey with them.”
The Series C funds will also be used to scale the TrialSpark team, which is growing rapidly across all departments in New York City and remotely. With a diverse team from across tech, life sciences, and pharma, TrialSpark is merging decades of deep subject matter expertise and tech-forward thinking to radically reimagine every part of the pharma value chain and work to bring treatments to patients faster than ever before.
“When we first met, Benjamine was clear about the journey he wanted to embark upon,” said Michael Moritz, Partner at Sequoia Capital. “Nothing has changed. TrialSpark has scaled the foothills and the assault on the summit has begun.”