Having designed clinical trials and authored study protocols for more than 20 years, Scott Chetham has a basic frustration with the field.
“People are always surprised that everything is done in Microsoft Word,” he said, but it’s a universal practice in his experience: No matter how complex or meticulous the trial, clinical scientists are still drafting trial protocols as Word documents and sending numerous versions around before locking them in as PDFs.
The frustration was what led Chetham to start Faro Health in 2019 after taking a sabbatical from his former job as head of clinical operations at Verily. And it’s drawing General Catalyst into a new $20 million funding round, which also involves existing investors Section 32, Polaris Partners, Zetta Ventures and Northpond Ventures.
Chetham is not alone in wanting to shake up how clinical trials are planned and run. In recent years, companies like ConcertAI, Medable or even Chetham’s former employer, Verily, have raised significant money to develop new technologies that promise to make trials cheaper, faster and more diverse, albeit each with slightly different focuses.
Faro’s main offering is a software researchers can use to create a clinical trial protocol from scratch — and visualize what each additional element, whether it’s a screening criterion, an assessment or an outcome measurement, means for a day in the life of a patient and a trial site.
With real-world data aggregated from various sources, the platform also provides real-time feedback on factors such as time, cost and feasibility, said Chetham, the CEO.
The ability to play with different variables — down to the exact type of blood chemistry panel used to measure a biomarker — is key, Chetham said, as clinical trials now capture an increasing amount of information through more and more testing.
Chetham noted that Faro has been signing on customers much faster than he expected, which he suspects has something to do with the current biotech funding crunch.
“We’re hearing from customers that they have to do a lot more trials with less money,” he said, adding later: “We really help them make very critical decisions early on, versus waiting until it’s too late and then amending and changing it — because if they need to, as I said, these mistakes are very expensive later on to fix.”
The new funding will go toward scaling the company so that Faro can take on more customers, including those in Europe. At this time last year, Chetham had put together a team of 20, comprising clinical trial experts and software engineers spread across San Diego (where Faro is headquartered), San Francisco, the East Coast and Europe. It plans to double in size in 2023.
Elena Viboch, partner at General Catalyst, will become a board member of Faro.
Exclusive Program Designed to Help Startups Quickly Scale
SAN DIEGO—January 26, 2023—Faro Health, a leading company using technology to improve protocol design and eliminate operational errors and inefficiencies in clinical trials, was inducted into Microsoft for Startups, a global program dedicated to accelerating the trajectory of high-potential startups to enable growth at scale. As a program member, Faro Health now has exclusive access to Microsoft technology, mentorship, and business support as the company advances its cloud platform helping teams collaboratively design clinical protocols that balance the scientific needs of complex clinical development with the key drivers of performance, feasibility, and patient centricity.
Launched in 2019 in the Microsoft environment, Faro Health’s proprietary cloud-based platform is already helping a variety of enterprise-scale pharmaceutical and biotech companies to collaboratively develop and author complex clinical studies efficiently while using digital data flow to automate downstream processes. Faro’s platform ensures teams can collaboratively make informed decisions about the impact of every study activity and its associated measurement. Intuitive real time Insights powered by real word dataassist teams to adopt modern decentralized approaches. With visualizations of the patient journey always available, teams can focus on developing protocols that are more inclusive and patient centric.
Faro Health will use Microsoft technologies to reach a wide-scale audience in a short time. With built-in redundancy and security, as well as being guided by Azure’s Well-Architected Framework, Faro Health will also benefit from greater access to the powerful Microsoft Developer tools and exclusive wide-range programming support that help scale sales, marketing, business, and technological innovation faster and smarter.
“Faro Health is honored to be among such a select group of companies from around the world chosen to join the Microsoft for Startups program, and we plan to leverage this opportunity to its fullest,” said Scott Chetham, Co-Founder and CEO of Faro Health. “Our participation in the program comes at a critical time for our company as we launch new offerings for customers. Finding partners like Microsoft has been a key success factor for us at Faro as we drive the digital transformation of clinical development.”
About Faro Health
Faro Health redefines how clinical protocols are developed by connecting all the stakeholders in the clinical trials ecosystem, including sponsor and CRO ClinOps teams, research sites, vendors, patients, and laboratories through a single software platform. The Faro platform provides a best-in-class standardized library of study activities that has been augmented with performance-related real world data to provide intuitive insights during protocol development. Faro brings balance, centricity and flexibility to protocol development through detailed analysis of the impact of each study activity, ensuring teams have the optimum protocol design for operationally complex trials. As a result, clinical protocols developed using Faro’s Smart Designer platform are operationally efficient in answering the right questions in the least burdensome way for patients, payers, and regulators. Sponsors, CROs, and researchers can learn more by visiting www.farohealth.com and requesting a consultation with a Faro solutions expert.
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