iTrials: A User-Centric Design Philosophy to Transform Clinical Trial Patient Enrollment

iTrials is a participant in Cohort 3 of Transform, a data science and AI startup accelerator powered by Deep Tech Ventures at the University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and Innovation in collaboration with the Data Science Institute.

iTrials is an AI platform for clinical trial enrollment that automates participant matching and reduces reliance on IT support and recruitment firms.

Cofounders Nitender Goyal and Vaibhav Saxena initially met during their MBA studies at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. After graduating in 2021, the idea for iTrials surfaced the following year during a casual gathering of Booth alumni in Washington DC.

Not long after, the duo – recognizing the vital role of clinical operations and frontline impact – added a third cofounder, Manvir Nijar, who brings with her expertise and understanding of the real-world challenges within clinical trials.

Together the team is addressing the challenge of patient recruitment in clinical trials, which experience significant delays due to inefficient data management and resource constraints. It is a well-documented challenge that results in increased costs and delays in bringing therapies to market.

iTrials’ approach to addressing this, however, differs significantly from others, according to the cofounders.

“Unlike many competitors who primarily focus on streamlining workflows or implementing data analytics, our unique market proposition lies in our user-centric design philosophy,” said Goyal, who is a physician scientist, with a background in academic medicine and biotech, particularly focusing on clinical trials and drug development. “Our solution is crafted with the study team as the central focus, ensuring that all technical complexities are hidden from the end user.”

Developed by clinicians, Goyal described the system as intuitive and user-friendly, requiring minimal training. “Study coordinators can seamlessly navigate through billions of records and relationships without the need for technical support or specialized knowledge,” he added. The approach ensures the platform is versatile to meet the varied needs of researchers, clinicians, and patients.

Saxena, who has implemented emerging technologies across various industries over his career, said the application of AI is “highly suitable” for addressing the challenge of patient recruitment in clinical trials. Notably, a significant portion of patient data (around 80%) is unstructured and therefore underutilized.

AI, particularly natural language processing (NLP) and large language models (LLMs), however, excels at processing and understanding unstructured data, which Saxena said makes it “invaluable for extracting meaningful insights from patient records.”

“Furthermore, AI-powered solutions can leverage large-scale compute clusters to efficiently handle vast amounts of data. This capability enables our platform to process and analyze patient records at scale, identifying relevant matches for clinical trials with speed and accuracy,” he explained. “By automating participant matching and reducing reliance on manual processes, AI minimizes the need for IT support or recruitment firms, streamlining the recruitment process and expediting trial timelines.”

Additionally, the platform also leverages fine-tuned LLMs and knowledge graphs to simplify decision-making at scale, “empowering study teams to make informed decisions based on comprehensive insights derived from both structured and unstructured data,” said Saxena.

To ensure the product aligns with market needs the company has continually sought feedback from industry leaders and customers, including investigators and study coordinators. This has helped guide the design, development, and ongoing evolution of the product.

“Our commitment to listening and responding to customer input has led to exciting opportunities for collaboration. We’ve been selected to collaborate and co-develop our solution with a prestigious academic research institution, further validating the value and relevance of our platform within the clinical research community, “said Nijar. “This recognition underscores our dedication to delivering innovative solutions that address real-world challenges and drive positive outcomes in the healthcare industry.

As part of its participation in the Transform accelerator, Nijar said the team is excited to connect with industry experts and receive mentorship that will guide them through refining the product and accelerate its growth.

“Our aspiration is to emerge as the premier analytics company for clinical research, extending our influence to enhance the utilization of data and generative AI to positively impact drug development,” she said.

// Powered by the Polsky Center’s Deep Tech Ventures, Transform provides full-spectrum support for the startups accepted into the accelerator, including access to business and technical training, industry mentorship, venture capital connections, and funding opportunities.

This site uses cookies and other tracking technologies to assist with navigation and your ability to provide feedback, analyze your use of products and services, assist with our promotional and marketing efforts.