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50 Best Companies to Watch 2022

Bringing Treatments to Patients Faster by Democratizing ClinTech: Saama Technologies

“Our singular focus is to enable our clients to bring out timely treatments to elevate the quality of life for humanity.”

Life science companies are tossing the old clinical development handbook out the window as they reimagine the drug development paradigm by disrupting and improving the clinical operations continuum with artificial intelligence (AI). Sustainable transformation for drug development can be realized to achieve scale, acceleration, and repeatability across therapeutic areas. Though the ‘D’ may still be positioned behind the ‘R’ in the phrase R&D, it has finally caught up. The result is quite promising — delivering safe and effective treatments to patients faster than ever before without impacting the quality.

With that said, we’re delighted to present Saama Technologies — a path-breaking clinical data and analytics company. Saama is the leader of the current evolution from e-clinical to ClinTech, the exciting new category of purpose-built, AI-based clinical insights and automation platforms that is changing the face of clinical development. The company serves life sciences customers worldwide.

The Silicon Review reached out to Saama Technologies’ California headquarters and spoke with Suresh Katta, founder and the company’s Chairman Emeritus. Here’s what he said.

Interview Highlights

Q. How does Saama enable the life sciences industry to conduct faster and safer clinical development and regulatory programs?

Saama Technologies focuses predominantly on meeting the drug development challenges facing pharma and biotech head-on, and obliterating these pain points via a ruthless application of technology intersected with science. The result is that safe and effective new medicines and vaccines reach patients in need faster than ever. Globally, there is a demand and need for a healthier and better quality of life. Every person, rich or poor, wants to be fit and healthy. This is achievable, and Saama is pursuing this goal relentlessly to help make it a reality in the most economical way possible.

Saama helped re-write the clinical development playbook. Vaccines typically take decades to develop. Saama helped compress that timeline to less than one year — a previously unimaginable goal. Pfizer used Saama’s technology — a domain-centric, deep learning/AI system called Smart Data Quality (SDQ) — to help them bring the world’s first COVID-19 vaccine to patients before any other company. This accelerated clinical development helped to turn the tide on the global pandemic. In addition to the initial 47,000-person clinical trial, Saama has continued to partner with Pfizer to leverage SDQ in subsequent COVID-19 vaccine studies for younger age groups.

There is no going back now, and Saama is committed to helping other biopharma companies replicate similar success across the therapeutic spectrum to prevent a default to pre-pandemic clinical development timelines.

Q. What can you tell us about Saama’s award-winning Life Science Analytics Cloud (LSAC) platform? And does it help companies file New Drug Applications efficiently and bring drugs to market faster?

LSAC empowers every persona in the clinical program to better intuitive intelligence for elevated therapeutic efficacy and safety, via its intelligent, out-of-the-box applications. Leading pharmaceutical companies recognize the new industry standard Saama is establishing for chief medical officers (CMOs), directors of clinical operations, and their teams. LSAC enables clinical trial sponsors and contract research organizations (CROs) to integrate, curate, and animate data for effective problem solving across clinical operations, medical review, data management, biostatistics, and pharmacovigilance. LSAC offers:

  • Operations Insights
  • Clinical Insights
  • Smart Automation Applications
  • Risk-Based Quality Management (RBQM)

In October 2021, the venture capital arms of Merck, Pfizer, Amgen, and McKesson, among others, invested $430 million in Saama. They are embracing how LSAC leverages smooth data flow from patient to submission, enabling clinical trial sponsors and CROs to effective problem solving across clinical operations, medical review, data management, biostatistics, and pharmacovigilance.

Q. What are your other focus areas?

Our singular focus is to enable our clients to bring out timely treatments to elevate the quality of life for humanity.

Q. What new endeavors is Saama currently undertaking?

Saama is committed to working on many unknown, rare diseases through our partnerships with our biotech customers. From a business perspective, developing drugs to treat rare diseases is extremely expensive and, though critically important to patients, often not profitable. Reducing the time and cost of developing such a drug allows a biotech company to focus on rare diseases as a viable option. Speed and quality are two big issues in this scenario and Saama enables both, helping biopharmaceuticals produce safer and more effective therapies for rare as well as more common diseases.

Q. What is your final message to The Silicon Review readers; your current and future clients and partners?

The global pandemic catalyzed employees to reevaluate their careers and re-prioritize what they valued about their jobs. ‘The Great Resignation’ has been a challenging burden for all industries and has significantly impacted clinical research. The attrition of qualified clinical research professionals not only adversely impacts clinical trial sponsors and CROs, but also ultimately the patients who await new and improved therapies. In the short term, technology — specifically state-of-the-art AI data analytics and automation platforms — can bridge that gap and ensure that clinical trial timelines are met, even with limited staff, by streamlining workflows, automating time-consuming processes, and improving collaboration across clinical operations, medical review, data management, biostatistics, and pharmacovigilance. In the long term, these technologies will also empower pharma and biotech companies to better decision-making, fewer delays, and significantly reduced drug development costs and timelines.

For more information visit www.saama.com

Suresh Katta / Founder & Chairman Emeritus

Suresh Katta is passionate about partnering with biopharma companies to improve clinical efficiency and drug discovery to develop and deliver new therapeutic options to the patients who need them. Since founding Saama Technologies in 1997, Suresh has realized his vision of successfully harnessing and applying the power of AI and Deep Learning through Saama’s award-winning, proprietary Life Science Analytics Cloud (LSAC) platform to deliver game-changing solutions that improve clinical trial outcomes. However, Suresh is not content for Saama to stop there, and has an unparalleled commitment to continuing to protect and promote human health by empowering the life sciences industry to forge the most efficient clinical development path possible to transform billions of lives for the better.

As one of the world’s most inspiring innovators who supports the clinical domain, Suresh was named PM360’s ‘2018 ELITE Entrepreneur’ and has also been honored as one of PharmaVOICE’s ‘100 Most Inspirational Leaders.’ He is a frequent contributor to industry publications and a featured speaker at industry conferences on the topic of accelerating clinical trials.

Prior to founding Saama, Suresh successfully launched two startups. He earned his M.S. in Computer Engineering at the University of Southwest Louisiana, and his B.S. in Electronics Engineering at the University of Bangalore.

“In October 2021, the venture capital arms of Merck, Pfizer, Amgen, and McKesson, among others, invested $430 million in Saama.”