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London Tech Week

Jenson Funding Partners invests in this UK-based startup seeking to accelerate clinical research

An operating system for clinical research based in the UK, Ascension-Q, has recently secured £250K in a pre-seed funding round. The investment round was led by early-stage focused venture capital firm Jenson Funding Partners (which backed Sküma Water, ZappedSkin and Not In The Guidebooks).

Provide clinical trials at more hospitals

Ascension-Q will use the funding to enable clinical trials in as many hospitals and clinics as possible in the UK and Ireland.

Ascension-Q is now being used in 16 hospitals and has been utilised during 70 clinical trials, while reaching 5,000 patients on the platform.

Ascension-Q’s founders have over 20 years’ experience in drug development, healthcare, and Clinical Pharmacology, having cared for and treated thousands of patients in the NHS. Further, The company aims to triple the number of hospitals using the platform over the next year, with its sights set on the European market and, later, the US by 2024.

Talking about the catalyst, behind launching Ascension-Q, Dr Amitava Ganguli, Founder and CEO shares with Tech Funding News, “It all started in 2010 after becoming director of an underperforming clinical research unit. In the first year, we were able to generate £1.1M in commercial revenue. From 3 full-time staff in those early days, the unit now employs over 40 staff, with a turnover of £5m annually. Using this experience, we developed AQ as a platform to help researchers reduce inefficiencies and improve their processes through automation and real-time data. With AQ, research sites can conduct more clinical trials, improve patient recruitment and retention, and increase patient opportunities.”

On the funding round, Ganguli adds, “We are delighted in raising investment from Jenson Funding Partners and continuing our incredible journey with their support. It has been fantastic working with the research community to create ‘a first of its kind’ research clinic operating system.”

Further, he says, “The latest funding will enable us to help more and more hospitals and clinics optimise performance and deliver clinical trials while enhancing the capabilities of the platform and transforming it into a complete operational ‘CRM’ system.”

What is the challenge it addresses?

In the clinical research drug trials space, the goal is the continued development of new drugs to improve patient care and treatment options. However, the work is complex and research teams lack the support required to deliver diligent research. This leads to delays and difficulties in recruiting and retaining patients to participate in the trials.

By creating a platform that helps researchers and operational staff work more efficiently, Ascension-Q aims to improve the user and patient experience as well. It provides real-time metrics on study participants on its cloud-based platform, which can be customised according to site needs. Also, it allows for the design and management of studies with multiple cohorts and across multiple sites.

Used mostly by researchers, which includes nurses, doctors, administrative staff and managers, the Manchester-based startup has been developed as an enabling platform to support research sites conduct more clinical trials, increase opportunities for patients, and improve patient recruitment and retention in clinical trials.

In one hospital that barely conducted research, Ascension-Q was introduced nearly 18 months ago. Since then, the hospital has run six research programmes and is now engaged in its seventh. The use of the platform in that time has enabled the hospital to generate nearly £2 million a year.

Ascension-Q is a team of 18 and is planning to expand the same in the next 3 months.

Sarah Barber, CEO at Jenson Funding Partners, added, “It is inspiring to see a difficult clinical trial process become far more seamless from start to finish with a complete overview throughout. Investing in a company that strives to be at the forefront of innovation in this field and has the potential to improve the lives of patients around the world is an honour for us.”

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