The startup created by and for researchers to drive drug development and improved patient experience secures funding from Jenson Funding Partners
Ascension-Q, the clinical research operating system, has secured £250,000 in a pre-seed round led by early-stage focused venture capital firm Jenson Funding Partners. The funding will be used by the startup to continue its mission of enabling as many hospitals and clinics as possible in the UK and Ireland to conduct clinical trials.
In the clinical research drug trials space, the goal is the continued development of new drugs to improve patient care and treatment options. But the work required is complex, since research teams at the ground level often lack the support required to deliver diligent research. This leads to delays and difficulties in recruiting and retaining patients to participate in the trials. Historically, the drug design process has operated in a top-down approach, the company says, where the decision-making of Contract Research Organisations (CROs) primarily focuses on working with pharmaceutical companies. Rather than site-first, this approach risks shortcuts and pain points in the research process that are often ignored.
Launched in 2020 by Dr Amitava Ganguli, Ash Mahmud, and Professor Richard FitzGerald, Ascension-Q sought to change that by creating a platform that helps researchers and operational staff carry out their work more efficiently, in turn improving both the user and patient experience. Its cloud-based platform can be tailored according to site needs and provides real-time metrics on study participants. It also allows for the design and management of studies with multiple cohorts and across multiple sites.
In one hospital that barely conducted research, Ascension-Q was introduced nearly 18 months ago. The hospital has since 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 £2m a year.
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. 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.
Dr Amitava Ganguli, Founder and CEO at Ascension-Q, says: “We are delighted in raising investment from Jenson Funding Partners and continuing our incredible journey with their support. AscensionQ was created to tackle the everyday challenges researchers face through automation in one platform, connecting people and not just processes. It has been fantastic working with the research community to create ‘a first of its kind’ research clinic operating system. From well-established research institutions through to newer organisations, the AQ platform has shown to increase clinical trial capacity for hospitals, improve patient recruitment and retention and support the business opportunity that research presents for NHS trusts. Our ‘buy-once, use many’ philosophy has enabled our customers to do more with less. 2022 was great validation of our system and for 2023 we are excited to push on and help the thousands of research clinics in the UK and beyond.”
Sarah Barber, CEO at Jenson Funding Partners, adds: “The drug development industry is so critical to the health of the global population. Ascension-Q is changing the game for clinical trials by really focusing on the staff and researchers who are working on making the life-changing discoveries of new drugs and treatments. It is inspiring to see a difficult clinical trial process become far more seamless from start to finish with a complete overview throughout. We’re honoured to be investing in a company that’s working to be at the forefront of innovation in this space and with the potential to improve the lives of patients around the world.”