Merck Digital Sciences Studio’s SciMar ONE is already demonstrating early value

Last year, McKesson Ventures joined a group of funders including Merck, Microsoft, the Global Health Innovation Fund, Northpond Ventures, and the New Jersey Institute of Technology to bring to life a “founder-friendly” startup accelerator for companies in the biopharma industry. That accelerator is the Merck Digital Sciences Studio.

By participating in the Merck Digital Sciences Studio, which provides mentorship, coaching, training, support, community, and investment to enable the next generation of innovative technology for drug discovery and development, startup founders gain access to up to $150,000 and access to Microsoft’s Founders Hub resources, including up to $150,000 in Azure compute credits.

The first cohort began its work earlier this year, and one of its members has already demonstrated measurable value. SciMar ONE Co-Founder and CEO Donna Conroy had an article published in Clinical Researcher, the medical journal of the Association of Clinical Research Professionals on the “financial chasm” in research and development.

Around $2.8 billion is wasted annually by the top 14 R&D-focused pharma companies during drug development, Conroy said. The Clinical Researcher article shows how SciMar ONE’s technology saves more than 60 percent of this spend by incorporating AI-powered workflow automation and data integration tools into the drug development process.

How? Increase what Conroy calls Development Velocity (DV), the speed at which a pharmaceutical company can move a new drug through the development process. This has the potential to tremendously reduce drug development costs.

“Adopting technology to increase DV with data integration and workflow automation tools alone can save [the highest-revenue] pharma companies an average of $202 million and 212,000 person-hours annually,” Conroy wrote.

Want to learn more? Read the Clinical Researcher article here.