Saving lives by changing the way clinical trials are run

An interview with Kim Walpole, Co-founder and CEO of Trails.ai

Saving lives by changing the way clinical trials are run An interview with Kim Walpole, Co-founder and CEO of Trails.ai

Product InnovationThis podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power to change the way life-science companies run clinical trials and thereby save both lives and billions of dollars. My guest is Kim Walpole, Co-founder and CEO of Trials.ai.

Kim is an organizational development and management consultant, skilled in helping individuals; groups and organizations increase their effectiveness. Her work with companies like Pfizer, Merck, Wyeth Ayerst, Orbital Sciences and Homeland Security gives her a unique perspective on leadership development, strategy and organizational growth.

Throughout her career she founded multiple companies: Optimum Training & Consulting in 2004, Wembli in September of 2011, and in 2016 her 3rd company, Trials.ai, after her best friend was diagnosed with terminal cancer and died waiting for a promising treatment.

What began as a passion project has turned into a mission-driven, venture-backed startup that is turning the clinical trials ecosystem on its head.

Kim is on a mission to build AI enabled technology to help research organizations optimize clinical trial protocols for speed and success – because patients don’t have time to wait.

And that inspired me, hence I invited her to my podcast. We explore the big problem around planning and executing clinical trials and how, by blending technology and people in the right way, major breakthroughs can be created. During our conversation we uncover a number of important lessons to accelerate innovation at large.

Here are some of her quotes:

We are on a mission to get treatments to patients faster.

We do that by leveraging artificial intelligence to optimize clinical trial protocols.

What we’re doing is essentially developing technology that really brilliant research teams can use to construct their protocols from the ground up.

A major problem for life science companies, is that almost 50% of their clinical trials are failing because of poorly designed protocols.

What ends up happening is that billions of dollars get squandered in preventable mistakes.

I had spent over 12 years consulting and pharma biotech companies, and loved my work. And then, about four years ago, my best friend Paul was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

That was that wake-up moment for me where I realized: ‘Okay, why are we continuing to approach this process in such a traditional, manual way? Why are we not using technologies to make this smarter, faster, easier?’

By listening to this interview, you will learn three things:

  1. That it’s helpful to make a broken process more efficient, but even more valuable if you fix the root cause.
  2. That falling in love with the big idea can grow blind spots and bias inside your organization. That’s dangerous. As such it’s critical to build your secret weapon: a culture of insatiable curiosity. Don’t get married to the way you are thinking about things today.
  3. Why instead of asking yourself:  ‘Are we doing this the right way’, you’re better of asking ‘Are we doing things the best way’ – and then look 5 years down the line, trying to predict where your industry is going.

Next steps:

  1. Subscribe to my weekly musing on how to become a remarkable software business?
  2. Or subscribe to the Value Inspiration Podcast on your favorite channel