Health Assurance

Our Investment in Vial

A Tech-Enabled CRO Reimagining Clinical Trials
November 30, 2022
min read

We invest in companies that are working to develop medicines for patients with significant unmet medical needs. 

These biotech startups face countless challenges. They need to hire a team of brilliant scientists, execute flawlessly and raise significant amounts of money in order to bring their science to the clinic. Assuming all goes to plan over years of effort, biotech companies then run a process and select a Contract Research Organization (CRO) to run their clinical trial. 

We’ve seen firsthand that the CRO experience is often less than ideal, and our partners in the pharmaceutical industry report the same experience. Studies are delayed - 80% of trials fail to complete enrollment on time, costs overrun, and the needs of smaller biotechs are not prioritized by the large CROs. For the industry as a whole, pharmaceutical companies spent $73B on CROs in 2021 and clinical trials make up 64% of that spending. This is far too much. The industry can develop more innovative medicines by speeding up clinical trial execution and lowering the cost of clinical trials.

Simon Burns and Andrew Brackin built Vial—a tech-enabled CRO—in the hopes of empowering scientists to cure many human diseases. By using technology to streamline the clinical trial process, biotech companies can focus on innovative science, not study execution. Simon and Andrew set out to build a CRO that moves at the pace of biotech companies and delivers trials on time. Engineered from the ground up for efficiency, Vial is built to scale like a technology platform. 

Vial launched in 2020, and has since built expertise in multiple therapeutic areas, including Oncology, GI and Dermatology, delivering faster and more efficient trials for biotech sponsors. We believe that Vial’s team, consisting of deep clinical operations expertise combined with product-focused co-founders, will enable biotechs to bring novel medicines to patients more efficiently, enabling more affordable and accessible care. 

At General Catalyst, we are excited to announce that we are leading Vial’s $67M Series B financing. We believe that we are entering into a new era of biotech innovation and that infrastructure like Vial’s technology-enabled CRO will be crucial to bringing these innovations to patients.