Durham startup developing clinical trial software raises $3M

A Durham startup that is developing software tools that aim to make it simpler and easier for clinical research sites to conduct trials of experimental drugs has raised $3 million in funding from outside investors.

The funding for the company, SignalPath, was disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

CEO Kevin Monroe said the company, which currently has 10 full-time employees and is based in downtown Durham, anticipates adding 16 to 20 new hires by the end of the year while its software is being beta tested. SignalPath also anticipates expanding the use of its software this summer with a “controlled release” designed to ensure that the company will be able to provide sufficient technical support.

The funding is a follow-up to a $1.5 million round in seed funding previously raised by the company. This latest round came from the same group of investors, Monroe said. He declined to identify any of the investors.

SignalPath was founded in 2014 by Monroe, a veteran of 14 years at the Duke Clinical Research Institute, and Bradford Hirsch, a practicing oncologist in Dallas and senior medical director at Flatiron Health, a New York-based healthcare technology company. Hirsch is a former Duke University faculty member.

Monroe said SignalPath is developing its software tools for clinical research sites – hospitals, clinics and physician’s offices – because the complexity of conducting clinical trials has proven troublesome.

The upshot, he said, is that there is an “astronomically high rate of clinical researchers who drop out, who do one study and never do research again.”

“If you really want to improve the rate at which clinical therapies come to market, you have to improve the rate at which clinical research is conducted ... You have to increase the number of people participating in research,” Monroe added.

SignalPath’s goal is to make it easy for researchers to determine “what you need to do, when you need to do it, with the patient that’s right in front of you,” Monroe said. The company also is developing financial management tools to make research more efficient and profitable for clinical researchers.

Although clinical research sites will be the end-user of the software, Monroe anticipates that it will ultimately appeal to companies that have a vested interest in clinical trials – drug makers and the businesses they hire to help them conduct and analyze clinical trials, contract research organizations.

The Triangle is the epicenter of the CRO industry and home to three of the world’s largest CROs – Quintiles, INC Research and PRA Health Sciences.

David Ranii: 919-829-4877, @dranii