Elligo Health Research Raises $135M to Expand Clinical Trial Participation

The healthtech company used the funds to acquire ClinEdge, which will provide administrative and technical resources to doctors.

Written by Jeff Rumage
Published on Sep. 28, 2021
Elligo Health Research Raises $135M to Expand Clinical Trial Participation
Elligo Health Research CEO John Potthoff
Elligo Health Research CEO John Potthoff. | Photo: elligo health research

Pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies seeking FDA approval often have difficulty accessing patients for clinical trials.

At the same time, clinical trials often leave out people of color and other underrepresented communities who may not live close to a university research hub. 

John Potthoff, the CEO of Austin-based Elligo Health Research, is working to solve both of these problems with the support of the company’s Intelligo software, which makes it easier for doctors and hospitals to help their patients participate in clinical trials.

“The problem we are solving is that most people don’t have access to clinical trials; 97 percent of physicians don’t participate,” he told Built In. “If you have a condition where you are looking for a different solution or want to help the world and other patients by contributing your data to help develop new treatments, it’s not something that’s widely available. Our goal is to provide hospitals and physicians the infrastructure so they can easily participate in offering clinical trials to their patients.”

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Late last week, Elligo announced that it has raised $135 million in Series E funding.

The investment funded Elligo’s acquisition of ClinEdge, a Quincy, Massachusetts-based company that provides clinical and outsourced business services to pharmaceutical companies and clinical research institutions.

The new partnership will provide doctors and hospitals with ClinEdge’s administrative and technological resources, thus connecting patients with the clinical trials identified by Elligo. Elligo will also gain access to ClinEdge’s anonymous patient health records.

Potthoff said the trouble his clients often have finding enough participants for clinical trials can prove incredibly costly.

“There’s a huge pent-up demand,” he said. “Eighty-five percent of clinical trial timelines are delayed, and that’s 100 percent due to lack of access to patients.”

On the other side of the equation, he said, clinical trials are often skewed with suburban residents who live near university medical centers. 

“If there’s 300,000 patients that have a certain indication, and you need 50, I bet you can find them,” he said. “But why does it have to take so long?”

When a company is in need of clinical trial participants, Elligo searches for potential matches in its database containing the anonymous electronic health records of 150 million patients. If a match is found, Elligo contacts the appropriate doctor to see if their patient is interested in participating in the clinical trial. 

If the doctor and patient are interested, Elligo will take care of all of the necessary regulatory filings and paperwork. Doctors are incentivized to participate through reimbursements for running the clinical trial.

The ClinEdge transaction includes GuideStar Research and BTC of New Bedford. In addition to the acquisition, the Series E funding will also be used to enhance its technology platform, leverage data in new ways and acquire additional companies in the future.

Elligo was founded in 2016 and has grown from 80 to 400 employees in the last year. Potthoff expects to hire another 350 to 400 people in the next year across healthcare, technology and back office positions.

About 65 percent of the employees are based in Austin, and the other 35 percent are in Boston. About 80 percent of employees work from home, at least occasionally. 

“We added more meeting space and invested in telesolutions projects so we can have people collaborating in different spaces,” he said. “As people start to move around again, I think we’re still going to have more of a mobile workforce and allow people to come and go, with teams coming together when they feel like they need to.”

The Series E funding round was led by Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital and Ally Bridge Group, with participation from Norwest Venture Partners and all major existing investors, including Cerner, Hatteras Venture Partners, Noro-Moseley Partners, Piper Sandler Merchant Banking, Shumway Capital and Syneos Health. 

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