When I sat down to interview Brett Kleger, Chief Commercial Officer and employee number 3 in the United States for the UK founded 2012 startup, one thing became apparent: DrugDev is playing chess while everyone is playing checkers. When I first interviewed founder Melissa Easy in 2012, it was already obvious to me that the venture backed DrugDev would eventually emerge from just providing investigator location and feasibility services to sponsors, to provide a plethora of tasks that drug companies need to outsource. The free Investigator database which can still be accessed and utilized for free at DrugDev.org was simply a Trojan horse to properly position DrugDev right in the crosshairs of research site-cro-sponsor operational inefficiencies, and shrewdly begin to solve some of these operational problems.
According to Brett, Drug Dev's mission is to make life easier for the research sites, and they are open to any business models either by acquisition or by internal growth that help make this possible. The purpose of the interview was to introduce their new product DrugDev Spark which integrates all of the DrugDev services into one platform with one easy user login and one password. You can watch the interview in its entirety here.
With a venture backed growth trajectory similar to those of tech companies rather than healthcare companies Drug Dev has emerged as one of the fastest growing companies in the industry. Insisting that they are not a CRO, Drug Dev's mission is to make life easier for the research sites and when I asked whether they would ever get into the electronic data capture or a more traditional monitoring service, Brett stated that while they are not a CRO they are open to providing any service, whether internally built or by acquisition, to make life easier for the research sites.
According to Brett there is no reason to start an EDC system from scratch when their platform DrugDev Spark integrates with many vendors such as EDC systems and IWRS systems that are already being utilized by the majority of the industry. With the emergence of risk based monitoring and big data analytics, which Drug Dev is well-equipped to take advantage of, a big innovation that many are pursuing in the industry is a move towards a more centralized monitoring approach for which Drug Dev is well suited to capitalize on. There has been no acquisition so far that would indicate that Drug Dev will get into monitoring aspects of clinical research, however to keep with their mission of making life easier for the sites, it is very possible that this would happen in the next decade.
It will never the less be interesting to keep an eye on what Drug Dev does when it comes to the industry’s two most disruptive innovations in recent years: risk based monitoring to cut down on monitoring costs, and wearable technologies to seamlessly capture vital patient statistics. While I believe DrugDev Spark is a great accomplishment, as we mentioned in the interview it is no easy task to integrate dozens of vendors into one platform with one login. I often said that the company that is able to effectively pull this off will gain tremendous amount of influence in the industry, I believe Spark is just the beginning of even more things to come from Drug Dev as they gain even more influence in the clinical research industry. In the video interview we also discuss electronic informed consents, site payments, and the future of clinical research industry in general as well as DrugDev’s role in those regards.