Akkure, an Irish start-up, aims to solve global clinical trial issues

Irish News, Rebooting Ireland | Mon 1 Feb | Author – Business & Finance
Pictured: Spark Crowdfunding CEO Chris Burge

Akkure raises almost €550,000 from Irish public in three days

A Dublin-based start-up, which is aiming to solve global clinical trial issues fueled by the pandemic, has raised almost €550,000 from the Irish public in just three days.
Some 85% of the 280,000 clinical trials carried out each year fail to enroll enough patients and 80% of clinical trials fail to finish on time. This is a major problem for an industry that is worth $60 billion annually, a figure that is growing considerably due to COVID-19.

However, Akkure has developed a disruptive med-tech platform that aims to become a global hub for clinical trials and solve systemic problems in the clinical trials industry.

The Akkure platform uses both precision medicine and virtual trials to greatly increase both the recruitment and retention of patients for clinical trials. The benefits of a clinical trial reaching critical testing mass earlier are considerable, for both pharmaceutical companies and patients seeking new therapies/cures. Pharmaceutical companies pay Akkure to access pools of similar patients for participation in clinical trials.

Akkure launched a crowdfunding campaign last Friday with the goal of raising €500,000 at a pre-money valuation of €4 million. The company, which is using the Spark Crowdfunding platform to raise funds, has already surpassed its €500,000 target, having raised almost €550,000 in just three days.

Chris Burge, CEO of Spark Crowdfunding, said: “The Akkure value-proposition has the potential to be a disruptive force in the clinical trials industry globally. It’s great to see Irish investors and the public be able to play an integral part in the company’s growth through crowdfunding.”

The Akkure value-proposition has the potential to be a disruptive force in the clinical trials industry globally.
Based at NovaUCD, Akkure was founded in founded in 2019 by Professor Oran Rigby, a consultant in intensive care medicine and surgery, and Dr Amy Hollingworth, a respiratory and lung transplant specialist. They are joined by Professor John Crown, Ireland’s leading Oncologist, who has recently been appointed as Chair of the Medical and Research Advisory Board.

The company, with a growing staff of 12, is headquartered at NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at University College Dublin (UCD) and has to date secured €1.6 million in funding. This funding has been through the Disruptive Technology Innovation Fund (DTIF), high-net worth medical investors and Enterprise Ireland.

Dr Amy Hollingworth, medical director and co-founder, Akkure Genomics said: “Crowdfunding is a dynamic and increasingly popular way to fundraise, and it provides an opportunity to transform our active and engaged community into investors by giving them the chance to get closer to our journey and shared vision for patient centric trials than ever before.”

She continued: “We’re very excited to be working directly with our audience, partnering with them to shape the future of clinical trials, providing not only the forum for patients to influence future trials  but also the ability to be rewarded, own and control the future of their illness, helping to create new therapeutics and cures.”

Professor John Crown said technology that increases patient recruitment and retention in clinical trials will lead to the identification of more cures in shorter time frames and the rapid advancement of medical research.

Last year, Akkure Genomics developed and launched the COVIDMedBot, a free online COVID-19 self-assessment tool, which to date has been used by over 100,000 people.

Equity crowdfunding allows hundreds of small and medium sized investors to purchase shares in early-stage companies.  It operates in much the same way as Dragons’ Den where companies pitch for investment and the ‘crowd’ decides if it wishes to invest or not.

To date, Spark Crowdfunding has completed 15 fundraising campaigns for Irish early-stage companies since it launched in 2018.  Last year, the company had a 100% success rate, with every company seeking to raise funds achieving their target.  Campaign sizes have ranged from €100,000 to €800,000 with the average investment amount of €2,100. The minimum investment for this campaign is €100.