Sramana Mitra: My next question is from an industry point of view. What are the trends and where do you see open problems that are perhaps not in your product roadmap but are things that you are seeing just because of your deep penetration and insight of the space? Where do you see the problems that need to be solved by new entrepreneurs?
Abraham Gutman: First of all, there need to be ways to reduce or slow down the growing cost of clinical trials. That’s a very big problem. A billion dollars in 10 years is becoming unacceptable.
Sramana Mitra: The drug discovery process is an unsustainably long and expensive process.
Abraham Gutman: Yes. Let’s say that I was done with this. I would be saying, “What would be really cool and exciting to do right now?” I would go to what I would very generically call telemetry. To use the cliché, we don’t know what the killer app for Apple Watch is going to be. There are more and more devices coming out that are going to be measuring more and more telemetry.
This telemetry feature is vital in clinical trials. It’s being collected today in a very expensive way. Patients have to go to hospitals because they have to be measured for blood pressure etc. Some of them drop out of the clinical trials because they live too far. If you realize that the most expensive part of the clinical trial has to do with patient recruitment and that one of the most scarce resources in clinical trials is available subjects, losing one subject in a clinical trial is a bad event.
Let’s remember that anybody that is in the clinical trial for the most part has a pretty bad disease for which there are no therapies in existence today. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be in the trial. How can I collect a lot of the data without forcing this patient outside of their daily work flow? I use Apple Watch as a generic name, by the way. Yes, I’m a big Apple fan but they’re not the only ones who have these things. The collection of telemetry in a way that is reliable and effective and can be done in a way that maintains privacy and all the other regulations is the most exciting areas today where I would be going.
Sramana Mitra: Very interesting. I like your answers. It’s very specific and makes perfect sense. Telemetry, as it applies to clinical trials, is an area that I can completely relate with. It would be a very interesting way of approaching a new problem.
Abraham Gutman: Yes, it would be very cool. I don’t know what these apps are going to look like. I just know that somebody is going to build them.
Sramana Mitra: Terrific. You’re a very good storyteller. I loved the way you told your story. I enjoyed listening to you. Thank you for your time.