16 October 2018 | News
Silicon Valley startup Acme Clinical Trials (ACT) is working to bridge this gap. The nonprofit and its comprehensive digital destination AClinicalTrials.com brings together more than 300,000 trials, with thousands added daily from researchers and physicians around the globe.
The number of registered clinical studies has skyrocketed in the last two decades, growing from just under 1,300 in 2000 to more than 290,000 today. With this growth comes a host of benefits for patients, families, and the medical community as a whole -- every trial and every study represents new opportunities to both find answers and help those living with these diseases, disabilities, and chronic conditions.
Bridging the Patient/Access Gap
That said, while the trials and the data emerging from these cutting-edge studies exists, information and access isn’t readily available, even to those who need it most. This not only leaves patients in the dark, but keeps researchers and other key industry insiders from unpacking the data coming from clinical studies -- stakeholders who could help advance these causes and accelerate success.
Silicon Valley startup Acme Clinical Trials (ACT) is working to bridge this gap. The nonprofit and its comprehensive digital destination AClinicalTrials.com brings together more than 300,000 trials, with thousands added daily from researchers and physicians around the globe. To ensure patients, families, and researchers connect with the right intel and insights quickly and easily, ACT leverages an artificial intelligence- (AI) powered guided search feature.
“Right now the information is out there, but it’s fragmented and housed on government sites -- sites that are confusing and cumbersome to navigate,” says ACT Founder Nofel Izz. “Our guided search makes finding the right studies easy.” When they find relevant studies, patients can submit their medical information to several at a time, using ACT’s blockchain-enabled platform to share their medical information with trial hosts.
Driving Research Ahead
In addition to supporting potential trial participants, ACT will also help researchers, physicians, and patients to tap into data emerging from these high-value studies.
“We’ll cull analytics and demographics of disease types along with pharmaceuticals taken,” Nofel explains. “Using AI, we’ll identify links between health conditions, medications, and trials, helping establish critical connections and from there, establish more clear-cut success rates for specific diseases and treatment plans.”
Like the clinical trial landscape, this emerging data is out there but is often difficult to find, access, and leverage. ACT not only democratizes this essential data but, with automated filtering and authentication, ensures the 15,000-plus new records added daily are error-free.
A Lifetime of Entrepreneurship
ACT isn’t the first game-changing venture for Nofel. A renowned entrepreneur, Nofel is currently involved with 19 startups -- and counting.
With a strong computer science background and MBA from University of Cambridge, Nofel has long leveraged his diverse professional and academic experiences to build innovative new businesses. Much of his work centers on bringing cutting-edge technology to the mainstream.
ACT, Nofel explains, was an idea he initially pitched to fellow Cambridge alumni Wassel Al Fakhoury, an M&A attorney and entrepreneur Xuhua Ji. “I wanted to create a new clinical trials platform that would leverage AI and neural networks to overcome common patient and researcher obstacles,” he adds.
Despite the radical nature of Nofel’s space elevator and other innovative launches he’s pioneered, he says ACT is by far the most complex and the most high-potential. “The technology we’re using for ACT is far more complicated than rocket science,” he says. “The fact is, rockets work,” Nofel explains. “AI and neural networks -- what we’re leveraging for ACT -- still have a long way to go.”
Gaining Global Traction & Support
Though still in its infancy, ACT has gained significant traction and interest from worldwide investors. To date, the nonprofit is seeking $30 million in seed investments but, already, has received letters of intent and interests from premier investment companies in the Gulf region and Saudi Arabia -- as well as Chinese investors such as China International Capital Corporation (CiCC), Tasly Pharma, and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. These and future funds raised will enable ACT to remain free for all users.
“We want to ensure individuals in developing countries -- people in dire need of treatments, transplants, and insights can access ACT,” says Nofel. “This network enables these users to find relevant trials and studies, while disseminating information and helping advance our collective quest for cures.”
In addition to investors, ACT has also invited 70,000 medical specialists from around the world to add input, articles, and questionnaires to the platform. This, Nofel explains, will help patients better search and explore clinical trials, with the option to connect to participating specialists for further guidance and support.
“Our goal was to establish a powerful clinical trial and medical analytics platform free of cost and open to the public,” Nofel adds. “Now, one year later, ACT is the single largest database of active and completed clinical trials in the world.”