In this edition of MintzTech Connect, we include a feature on Radicle Science, a San Diego AI-driven health tech start-up completely reimagining clinical research.
Despite rising demand for natural products, clinical research on natural treatments is lacking due to multiple obstacles, including costly clinical trials, sparse and restricted funding, and institutional bureaucracies slowing research. These hurdles all ultimately prevent viable, affordable solutions from getting to a mainstream market in a timely fashion — or at all.
By combining the reach of a market research company, the scientific rigor of a research university, and the agility of a tech company, Radicle can prove and predict the effectiveness of health and wellness products at scale. The company has come up with a solution leveraging a proprietary AI-driven data analytics platform and a virtual, direct-to-consumer (D2C) clinical trial model to validate and predict the effects of health and wellness products and deliver objective health outcome data across diverse populations and conditions.
“By reducing the cost and increasing the speed, we are able to democratize access to clinical trials for pretty much any company,” said Radicle Science Co-Founder and Executive Chair Pelin Thorogood.
Radicle Science was founded by Thorogood, M.Eng, MBA, and Dr. Jeff Chen, MD/MBA — alums of Cornell University from different generations who met through a shared interest in proving the health benefits of cannabis products.
Chen studied premed at Cornell before transferring to UCLA for a special physician executive training program where students can work on an MD and MBA simultaneously.
“By the time I graduated, I realized there were deep entrenched interests that did not want healthcare reform, and I started looking for ways to improve health outside of the healthcare establishment,” Chen said. “I identified cannabis and CBD as the most widely used wellness product in the U.S. with the least amount of evidence due to nearly a century of illegality and research bans.”
Frustrated with the expense and slow pace of traditional trials, the two founders started Radicle Science at the beginning of 2020, writing a business plan and raising a pre-seed round in time to start operations in December 2020.
By 2021, Radicle was experiencing blockbuster success with revenue in the seven-figure range and 25 randomized control trials on over-the-counter cannabinoid products executed and completed. The Radicle team has rapidly grown to include renowned experts and luminaries with well over 50 advanced degrees. These include Chairman of the Advisory Board, Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, MD (named as one of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” by Fortune), CTO Dr. Sheldon Borkin, PhD (WebMD’s former VP of Tech and Chief Security Officer), Chief Research Officer Dr. Emily Pauli, PharmD (Clearview Cancer Institute’s former Director of Research) and Advisor Dr. Rhona Applebaum, PhD (Coca Cola’s former Chief Science Officer).
Radicle customers include large public companies to start-ups that use the data from trials assuring retailers, investors, and customers by showing validation on how well a product works.
Now that it has proven its clinical trial model, Radicle is moving into new markets such as functional mushrooms and nootropics to see how these natural products help with need states like sleep, anxiety, pain, digestion, and focus.