The Silicon Review
“With MedVector, it becomes economical and possible for a rare disease patient to participate in a clinical trial without having to relocate.”
In the current clinical trial marketplace, patients must travel to clinical trial sites to access advanced medicine. The problem is, most sites are not near the patients… This creates challenges for doctor/patient awareness, demographic imbalances, and geographic constraints. Further, while treating physicians and specialists believe in clinical trials, they don’t refer their patients to them.
MedVector is an elegant solution that enables local physicians to offer clinical trial medications as a care option, without the local doctor acting as an investigator, and without trigging a new clinical trial site. No more horrible commutes and now everyone has access to advanced medicine regardless of geographic location or socioeconomic status.
Because MedVector keeps patients in the treating physician’s office, it eliminates the doctor’s fears of referring away and generates revenue for practices and hospitals. The revenue is generated from study specific tests, performed at the physician’s office, paid for by Pharma. It also reduces costs to clinical trial sponsors, reducing the number of sites, while bringing life-changing, advanced medicine to market more quickly.
To highlight and further understand MedVector and its unique offering, I sat down with Scott Stout, who serves as the company’s Chief Executive Officer. Below is an excerpt.
Interview Excerpt: Scott Stout
Q. What factors do you believe have driven companies to increase the need to look for participants beyond current clinical trial sites?
Enrolling participants is challenging. The FDA and other regulatory bodies don’t allow pharmaceutical companies to advertise new drugs without FDA approval, and HIPAA privacy laws prevent the buying and selling of identifiable healthcare data. Meaning, even if there were a new cure for blindness, you couldn’t buy a list of blind people to contact.
Because of this, drug makers hire patient recruitment companies to motivate patients to opt-in for clinical trials. Patient recruitment is the number one delay for clinical trials, and while there is some cleverness in recruiting patients, conversion rates are very low. Typically, patient recruitment asks the patient to be their own advocate (clicking on a FB ad, calling a number off a billboard, or entering medical info into a random website), but patients don’t want to be their only advocates. They would prefer hearing about clinical trials from their doctor and sharing the decision making process with a trusted healthcare provider.
It seems an obvious solution to get local doctors and specialists to talk to their patients about clinical trials because clinical trial candidates are not medical mysteries. They typically have an existing diagnosis, are taking an existing medication, and have an existing relationship with a local provider. However, most physicians see clinical trials as a distraction from the practice, so they don’t act as investigators, nor do they refer. Challenges exist, even for doctors who are open to referring to clinical trials, study awareness, pipelines, and proximity to the closest clinical trial site.
MedVector has created a platform that enables non-research physicians access to clinical trial medications as a care option. Now using the telemedicine-enabled MedVector Window™, patients can participate in clinical trials from the comfort and familiarity of their trusted treating physician’s office. And the best part, the local physician doesn’t have to act as an investigator but still generates revenue from clinical trial-related procedures while providing the best possible care options.
Q. What are the main challenges faced by researchers in clinical trials? How can these challenges be overcome?
The largest challenge faced by researchers is low patient volume. The average clinical trial site has only three participants, and 11 percent of selected clinical trial sites never enroll a single patient. Low volume, especially in the rare disease space, is a major contributing factor to why many doctors attempt to offer clinical trials but don’t continue to pursue them.
Geographic limitations also challenge clinical trial sites in their recruitment efforts. Most clinical trial sites are located in densely populated suburban communities. This prevents access to advanced medications for many inner city and rural communities, which creates diversity challenges for regulatory bodies.
The future of clinical trials is clearly moving toward being decentralized. Janet Woodcock, Acting Commissioner of the FDA, is quoted as saying: “The clinical trial system is broken, and there need to be new ways to collect and utilize patient data.” And Craig Lipset, co-chair of Decentralized Trials Research Association (DTRA) says: “Enabling physicians to offer clinical trials as a treatment alternative is the ‘holy grail’ of participant enrollment.”
Many industry experts seem to be pointing directly at MedVector and our ability to allow patients to participate in clinical trials from their local physician’s office.
Q. What are the key factors to consider when selecting a participant for clinical trials?
MedVector doesn’t screen participants, we connect already identified ones to existing clinical trial sites who are otherwise out of reach. We work with the patient recruitment companies and feasibility departments of pharma and CROs to give them access to all the patients identified, not just the ones close enough to clinical trial sites.
As cited above, clinical trial candidates are not medical mysteries. They typically have an existing diagnosis, are on an existing medication, and are being treated by an existing specialist. The trouble isn’t finding candidates, the trouble is accessing them because most are behind a non-research treating physician who does not refer to clinical trials. The MedVector window unlocks access to the millions of patients behind these non-research physicians.
Q. Clinical trials are complicated. They are costly. They involve many stakeholders, including consumers, sponsors, healthcare systems, physicians, nurses, labs – the list is endless. In such cases, how can we take the clinical trial to the participant?
The problem is bigger than simply bringing the study to the participant. Awareness, cost, incentives, geography, patient concentration, all play factors in why clinical trial enrollment is so difficult. The real question is, “How do we make it easier for participants to enroll in clinical trials?”
The industry has been focused on becoming more “patient-centric” for a while. At MedVector, we believe shared decision making between patients and treating physicians is a key missing ingredient. The MedVector model allows patients to participate in clinical trials from their local doctor’s office, without the location becoming a site.
On the opposite side, MedVector is enabling local physicians to offer advanced medicine as a care option, without becoming an investigator. This combination puts MedVector at the forefront of truly becoming “patient-centric.”
Q. Tell us in brief how MedVector is eliminating the subject enrollment delays?
MedVector is enabling and incentivizing local physicians to talk to their patients about clinical trials. Doctors who were afraid to refer to clinical trial sites now can offer clinical trial medications as a care option. This shared decision-making path unlocks access to millions of patients otherwise trapped behind non-research physicians and specialists who don’t refer to clinical trials.
MedVector also makes patient recruitment easier by allowing patients to participate from their local doctor’s office. Because of this, patient recruitment companies can expand their search criteria beyond existing clinical trial sites and connect patients identified but otherwise too far away.
This is especially true in the rare disease space because concentrations of participants are difficult to find. With MedVector, it becomes possible for a rare disease patient to participate in a clinical trial regardless of their geographic location or socioeconomic status.
Q. Let’s talk about your team of experts and their role at MedVector. How did you form your dream squad, and how unique is it?
I’m in awe of our team. Each member is truly successful in business, as an industry expert, and as a person.
Dr. Dennis Patterson, MedVector’s original co-founder, has worked in healthcare managing hospitals for over 40 years and is one of the founders of Wellspring Partners. This is Dennis’ 7th startup.
Ted Barduson, COO, has success as an operator and scaling several businesses to exist as both a COO and CEO.
Ian Leaman, CFO, has over 50 M&A exits.
And of course, Craig Lipset is our Head of Corporate Strategy. If the decentralized clinical trial industry was a mountain, Craig is the one standing at the top of it. He was the Head of Pfizer’s innovation department and is now the co-chair of DTRA, as mentioned above.
Q. What are you doing to ensure you continue to grow and develop as a leader?
As the CEO of MedVector, my job is to make sure I am never the smartest guy in the room. I empower my team of experts, so they can lead their teams to success. Sometimes it’s hard to trust the process and stay out of the way, but I know we have built an amazing team. This mindset has led me hire amazing people and advisors, constantly learn from them, and evolve as a person, company, and leader.
Leadership | MedVector
Scott Stout, Co-founder, serves as the Chief Executive Officer of MedVector. He is a financial expert and investment specialist and has been recognized as one of the top healthcare innovators of 2021.
While working as a professional investor in high-finance, Mr. Stout identified a large gap in the clinical trial marketplace and seized the opportunity to build a team of healthcare, high tech, and venture capitalists to turn his concept of expanding clinical trials, ‘Beyond Clinical Trial Sites’, into a reality. Prior to founding MedVector, Scott worked with notable companies such as Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo Private Bank. His entrepreneurial spirit has driven him to help numerous start-ups develop their market-fit, revenue models, capital raises, and go-to-market strategies.
Ted Barduson, Co-founder, serves as the Chief Operating Officer of MedVector. He has over two decades of success leading operations, sales, and executive team management for transformative, industry-leading healthcare companies and start-ups. He has been instrumental in the growth of several healthcare companies, which have led to a number of successful exits. As a visionary strategist specializing in sales and marketing team building, product development and rollout, and business development, Mr. Barduson is committed to executing MedVector’s mission to bring clinical trials ‘Beyond Clinical Trial Sites’.