Monday 16 September 2019

Irish brothers clinch $25m in funding for clinical trials firm

Teckro CEO Gary Hughes. Photo: Sean Curtin/True Media
Teckro CEO Gary Hughes. Photo: Sean Curtin/True Media
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Teckro, the Limerick-based biotech startup co-founded by brothers Gary and Nigel Hughes, has raised a new funding round of $25m (€22.1m).

The cash brings to $43m the amount of funding raised by the brothers, who started the company in 2015 with Jacek Skrzypiec. Teckro focuses on clinical trials, making them more efficient for doctors, nurses and patients.

The Hughes family have form in growing successful startups, selling their last clinical trials company, Firecrest, to Dublin pharmaceutical company Icon, co-founded by Dr John Climax and Dr Ronan Lambe.

Teckro has users in more than 80 countries and employs over 100 staff across three offices in Limerick, Dublin and Nashville, Tennessee.

The $25m Series C round was led by US investment firm Northpond Ventures with participation from Founders Fund, Sands Capital Ventures, Bill Maris' Section 32 venture fund and Borealis Ventures. Chief executive Gary Hughes said the round will be used to continue its international expansion and product development.

Teckro, which works with pharma and biotech giants, uses 'machine learning' to speed clinical trials. A company spokesman said there has been a 240pc rise in the number of clinical trials on its platform over the past 12 months.

"Despite all the talk of digital transformation, the actual experience of participating in a clinical trial if you are a doctor, research nurse or patient has changed little in the last 20 years," said Gary Hughes. "The industry still relies heavily on paper, or working off retrospective data.

"This approach, together with the plethora of point solutions that get 'bolted on', only adds to the complexity and disjointed experience of research sites and patients.

"We are building a new digital infrastructure and toolset for clinical research that makes the conduct of trials simpler, more transparent and more inclusive.

"Ultimately Teckro is about ensuring that effective drugs are efficiently and effectively moved from the lab to the patient so that lives can be saved."

The funding round comes after recent figures showing a fall-off in major deals and seed funding in Ireland.

Investment was down by a third to €546m in the first nine months of 2018.

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