Based in Amsterdam, myTomorrows has a simple mission ‚Äî helping the sickest patients get access to drugs¬†in¬†clinical trials and early access programs. Now established in 16 countries in Europe and South America, the company is poised to enter the U.S. market.
myTomorrows has recently expanded its services, releasing an API for its clinical trials database, which contains information on more than 300,000 studies.¬†Sharing its database is one of the startup‚Äôs efforts to reduce the barriers between potentially life-saving drugs and patients. Founder and CEO Ronald Brus learned how significant those drugs can be when his father was diagnosed with lung cancer.
‚ÄúI was a pharma exec and for me it would be easier to get access to a drug,‚Äù said Brus in a phone interview. ‚ÄúBut that‚Äôs not a good situation. We needed to create a level playing field.‚Äù
Even as an insider, Brus was frustrated by opaque government regulations and company policies. If he was having trouble with the system, the average consumer would find it virtually impenetrable. It was a matter of bringing more transparency to an inefficient market.
‚ÄúWe wanted to create a two-sided marketplace, like Amazon,‚Äù said Brus. ‚ÄúA navigable system where people know where to go. Even when the drug is not on our platform we can say it‚Äôs in this many clinical trials in your part of the world.‚Äù
If a patient cannot get into a trial, myTomorrows has a registry of early access programs. In some cases, the business¬†offers its¬†own programs.
‚ÄúPeople can see if there‚Äôs anything we offer that they need. We also help physicians obtain permits to use the drug and help patients get reimbursed,‚Äù said Brus. ‚ÄúBasically, we do all the bureaucratic stuff.‚Äù
In some ways, the company is an expression of frustration at the lengthy clinical trial cycle ‚Äîa frustration Brus shares with others. He even bridles at the phrase ‚Äúdrug development.‚Äù
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs called development, but the drug is not being developed (in clinical trials), it‚Äôs just being tested,‚Äù said Brus. ‚ÄúThe molecule is locked in. The drug comes on the market, but it was available 10¬†years before in the same fashion.‚Äù
The business¬†is making headway, but there are still significant barriers. Brus acknowledges the financials for early access and compassionate use programs don‚Äôt pencil out for small biotechs. In addition, many companies are concerned these programs can throw a wrench into their development process.
‚ÄúThe idea that doing compassionate use, early access or expanded access might harm your development is a canard,‚Äù said Brus. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs really not true.‚Äù
MyTomorrows has so far had¬†success in Europe, but is¬†looking forward to bringing its¬†services to the U.S. Brus believes the FDA would approve the vast majority of early access requests, but reimbursement and corporate policy barriers farther upstream keep those submissions to a trickle. He hopes myTomorrows can help remedy that.
‚ÄúWe know there‚Äôs a tremendous need in the U.S.,‚Äù said Brus. ‚ÄúWe will be active there either the last quarter of this year or the first quarter of next year.‚Äù