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Scientists from all over the globe are racing to find a vaccine for Covid-19. Among the types of scientists playing a massive role are biochemists, microbiologists, scientists specializing in infectious diseases; and now data scientists.

Castor, an international health-tech company located in The Netherlands and New Jersey recently received $12 million in Series A funding due to their ability to speed up clinical trials for Covid-19 research. The clinical data platform aims to simplify the clinical research process which can be clunky and tedious by automating it. CEO of Castor, Derk Arts, MD, PhD recently told Forbes he aimed to, “bring medical research to the 21st century by allowing researchers all across the world to very efficiently run clinical trials.”

While Castor has a big presence in Amsterdam, they hope that this round of funding which consists of existing investor INKEF Capital and new investors; Two Sigma Ventures and Hambrecht Ducera Growth Ventures will help ramp up their presence in the United States.

According to Castor’s press release, the cloud-based platform is used by more than 50,000 users across academia and commercial research, powering more than 4,000 studies with more than 2,000,000 enrolled patients across 90 countries. In addition, 192 medical device, biotech, and pharmaceutical companies and contract research organizations (CROs) are using Castor's platform.

Castor is one of the many tech companies lending a hand to Covid-19 research. Starting in February, Castor made their data platform available to any nonprofit Covid-19 research organization. At the time of the press release, more than 200 COVID-19 projects across 33 countries are currently running on the platform.

Arts stated, "There are three key challenges that need to be addressed in the clinical trial space: making research more patient-centric, maximizing the impact of data on human lives, and better addressing the needs of underserved communities.” He went on to say,  "With this new investment, we will be able to make significant progress in all three areas by continuing to deliver user-friendly, accessible technology that can support remote trials, while ensuring machine-readable output that allows for trial automation and data reuse.”

Castor isn’t the only health-tech start-up that has raised money to automate clinical trials. Last month Sema4 announced their received $121 million in Series C funding health-data-analytics platform. The data platform will focus on data-driven research in the oncology and women’s reproductive health industry. “This investment is exciting for the significant financial resources it provides Sema4 for our continued rapid growth and accelerated investment, and also for the world-renowned partners it brings to our team,” Eric Schadt, founder and CEO of Sema4, said in a statement.

Data research has been instrumental in the health care field over the past few years as health care providers turn to automation and machine learning to speed up their processes. That need has doubled as researchers in the biopharma industry and diagnostics centers are using data to ensure there isn’t a lapse in Covid-19 testing. As Covid-19 continues to surge in the United States and around the world – the need for data scientists in the health sector has increased ensuring that there are no delays in data.

Last modified on Monday, 24 August 2020
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Danielle Loughnane

Danielle Loughnane earned her B.F.A. in Creative Writing from Emerson College and has currently been working in the data science field since 2015. She is the author of a comic book entitled, “The Superhighs” and wrote a blog from 2011-2015 about working in the restaurant industry called, "Sir I Think You've Had Too Much.” In her spare time she likes reading graphic novels and snuggling with her dogs.

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