Modern Trials appoints top board members to spur growth of clinical trial platform

By Riley Kaminer

Miami-based Modern Trials is on the way to disrupt a $1.2 trillion industry by connecting patients with relevant clinical trials – and hopefully saving lives along the way.

To further that mission, Modern Trials has just announced that they have signed on a smattering of A-list advisors.

Dr. Blackford Middleton

One of those new advisors is Dr. Blackford Middleton, who has served as a professor of biomedical informatics and/or medicine at Stanford, Harvard, and Vanderbilt; chaired three prominent medical information organizations (HIMSS, AMIA and CPRI); and held executive leadership roles at a wide range of high-profile medical institutions.

In an interview with Refresh Miami, Modern Trials CEO Dr. Chris Ochner called Middleton the “Michael Jordan of biomedical informatics.”

“We are thrilled to have him on the team,” continued Ochner [pictured above].

In a statement, Middleton shared that “the primary motivator for joining the team was to help Modern Trials accomplish its mission to provide the opportunity for a better and longer life to every patient in need.” He added, “I also see a business model I believe will be highly successful.”

This business model revolves around helping patients find trials while helping medical companies find patients. With medical companies spending $100 billion a year to find patients for clinical trials – and the trials themselves costing up to to $50 million each – the market opportunity is vast. 

According to Ochner, there can be upwards of 70,000 active trials in the US at any given time. Ochner, who has spent the last two decades in the research and clinical trial space, founded Modern Trials in 2019 with Dr. Alexander Logsdon.

Dr. Jyotishman Pathak

Modern Trials has also added Cornell University’s Dr. Jyotishman Pathak to their advisory board. Pathak is a leader in clinical data normalization. As part of Modern Trials’ participation in MIT’s Entrepreneur Forum, the company also managed to sign four professionals affiliated with the university: Doug Williams, Mahesh Kulkarni, Eugene Chang and Dr. Michael Ross.

Next up for Modern Trials: funding and partnerships. The company has just submitted an SBIR proposal to the NIH. If successful, Ochner said that he would use this money to increase the speed of development of the platform, an early version of which has already launched. “That’s our biggest bottleneck. We want to put something out there that’s really polished.”

Apart from this grant, Ochner is not interested in institutional funding, preferring to work with strategic investors who have industry expertise.

In terms of partnerships: Ochner signaled that there is a major agreement in the works with another South Florida company, but was unable to share the details publicly at this juncture.

Over the last year of their platform being live, Modern Trials has already made thousands of patient contacts. Ochner shared some important learnings, including the critical importance of establishing well thought-out processes from the beginning. “And everything has to be HIPAA compliant,” he said – something that is more easily said than done when a platform is dealing with multiple stakeholders and services at one time.

The Modern Trials team continues to grow, with about a dozen developers plus another dozen enrollment specialists and executives retained on equity. 

Looking forward, Ochner is excited to release Modern Trials second offering: a trial recruitment toolbox that will help clients quickly and easily recruit for trials. And eventually, Modern Trials hopes to start creating their own clinical trial sites – as well as create an offering that pairs genetic data with electronic health record data. “We’re very, very excited about that,” said Ochner. 


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Riley Kaminer