Improving clinical trial recruitment and patient-specific insights through social listening with Matt Archer from Neucruit

And how data protection affects patient recruitment

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In this episode, Legislate meets Matt Archer, Clinical Operations Director at Neucruit. Neucruit is an intelligent software for clinical trial recruitment that redefines patient recruitment. Neucruit's technology aggregates real-time data from the over 25 million health-related conversations initiated online everyday to facilitate planning and recruitment in clinical trials. Matt shares a bit of background about Neucreuit and how GDPR compliance is affecting patient recruitment.

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Charles Brecque: Welcome to the Legislate Podcast, a place to learn about the latest insights and trends of property, technology, business building and contract drafting. Today, I'm excited to welcome Matt, clinical operations executive at Neucruit to the show. Neucruit is developing an intelligent software for clinical trial recruitment that aggregates real-time data from the 25 million health-related conversations that are initiated online every day to facilitate planning and recruitment in clinical trials. Thank you, Matt, for taking the time, would you like to please share a bit of background about yourself and Neucruit?

 

Matt Archer: Yes, hi Charles, thank you very much for having me. I'm excited to be here. You summed up Neucruit pretty well yourself, yes, it's an intelligent software platform that allows digital patient improvement in clinical trial aiming to refine recruitment and bring back patient-specific insights and just keeping patients engaged, create a bespoke platform. Each project unique to them, what they need, what you need to get out of it. And you use real-time data for that, the idea is, basically, redefine patient recruitment and, ultimately, save time and money for pharmaceutical companies, bio companies and make it a better experience for patients, as well, and improve outcomes at the final end. My background is I started working as a doctor, mainly, and then being interested in other areas of medicine and improving the whole patient experience, and that's how I got involved with Neucruit. So I'm recently new to Neucruit but it's been good fun so far, I'm learning a lot.

 

Charles Brecque: That's great. And when it comes to recruiting patients for those trials, is there a particular area where you end up doing more trials or is it pretty much general, based on those 25 million health-related conversations?

 

Matt Archer: So, we can do everything and happy to get involved with anything that excites us, but we probably do have a bit more of a history in working with chronic pain, digital therapeutics are novel for C and S conditions, neurotech. For example, recently, we've been looking at some biotechs looking to help with depression and, yes, I'm happy to get involved in a broad spectrum of conditions.

 

Charles Brecque: You mentioned you joined relatively recently, what's been your favourite moment so far?

 

Matt Archer: The favourite moment so far has been, mostly, I think, and it's quite a sentiment I think Liv said as well, our CEO, about everything really has been starting to ramp up recently. Getting more people on-board, including myself, and just starting to build a lovely set of clients, really. So I think it's just, as everything starts to build up, everyone's starting to enjoy it now.

 

Charles Brecque: Yes, I think, when a start-up starts to find some momentum, it's always very exciting for everyone.

 

Matt Archer: 100%.

 

Charles Brecque: So how big is the team?

 

Matt Archer: We're up to about fifteen of us at the moment, there's a few more people coming on, I believe, as well. So it's starting to get up to a nice number, starting to have everyone really working coherently together and, as you say, the momentum. Clients, probably up to 50 or so, maybe a few more. And then we've got a lot of work in the pipeline as well and we're hoping that really going forward in this is is going to be starting to build momentum and really, I think that number can go up by a fair bit now.

 

Charles Brecque: Congratulations, it definitely seems like you bring that momentum, so well done. And, in terms of lessons throughout this whole experience, what do you wish you'd know before entering this world of clinical trials and software?

 

Matt Archer: I think it's a thing that everyone starts to really realise now. Especially as you grow and, as I said, ramp up, really, is that you can't do-, you need the people around you that have got their own specialist skills or they just bring themselves with a certain attitude towards working and willing to learn and willing to be training. And just, you know, really realising that you can't do everything, that you do need someone that can do something and do it well.

 

Charles Brecque: Yes, I think the focus as an entrepreneur, you know, the start-up is always a challenge and it's always very tempting to do more or to implement a feature for a client and it's always-, sometimes it is a right thing to do but sometimes you do need to take a step back and prioritise. And so, now that you're building momentum and, obviously, there are big, big goals for the company, what's the vision of the next three to five years?

Matt Archer: So, over the next three to five years, we're hoping to scale quickly and responsibly in a sustainable way. So far, it's been a lot of organic growth and really getting the foundations right to allow sustainable growth. There's been recent financial injection so far and we're hoping that can really start to get us to-, revenue is projected to grow quite nicely into Q2 and Q3, and then hopefully we can build the team to match that new demand whilst keeping the current standards. So it's exciting times.

 

Charles Brecque: Yes, very exciting and good luck. And I imagine, based on the nature of the business and the fact that you are interacting with patients, I imagine there are quite a few contracts or legals that you must go through. What are the main agreements that you interact with?

 

Matt Archer: On the legal side, a lot recently has been less about the contractors, obviously there are the contractors and they're important and there's contracts with patients and amongst the company, as well, there's lots of contractions. Difficulty in our world has really been the change, recently, that's come around from companies like Meta about how there can be targeting of recruitment of patients using social media. And then, also there's just compliance with GDPR, as well. So Neucruit uses different ways of recruiting the patients that's fully in-line with how Facebook has changed in policy back in January this year and it's just really making sure about the compliance has been the main legal issue, contractual issue that Neucruit's had.

 

Charles Brecque: I imagine. And that's definitely something that you don't want to get wrong.

 

Matt Archer: No.

 

Charles Brecque: So, kind of, how'd you overcome those changes, did you work with the legal team?

 

Matt Archer: It was ourselves with looking at the compliance and it didn't affect us too much, and that's part of the beauty of Neucruit, is that we have been able to continue digital recruitment where lots of other teams and companies have struggled.

 

Charles Brecque: Okay.

 

Matt Archer: I'm trying to think, I'm trying to think how I can answer a bit longer for you because that was a very short answer.

 

Charles Brecque: Okay, that's fine. In terms of other agreements in the business, do you interact with NDAs?

 

Matt Archer: Yes, there's NDAs and employment contracts, I can talk about some of that, if you want.

 

Charles Brecque: Yes, go for it.

 

Matt Archer: So then we also have contractual issues, not issues but, obviously, as every start-up has, is getting those legal-, okay, so as well as all the compliance and GDPR concerns, there's also concerns that any start-up would have around contractual issues with employees, making sure that each side is protected. And then NDAs, as well, as we're getting consultants from outside and advisors and it's just important to really protect yourselves and making sure that NDA does protect you and your intellectual property.

 

Charles Brecque: That's absolutely right. And, with those agreements, especially if you are bringing on advisors or consultants, are there any areas where they push back?

 

Matt Archer: So far, I think we've been lucky with the people we've got, we've managed to get some great people. Most of them, they do this regularly, they know what's in an NDA and I don't think there's too much pushback from anyone so far.

 

Charles Brecque: That's great, it sounds like you're using the right types of agreements with the right language, if that's the case. So, well done. I'm conscious, Matt, that I've taken up a lot of your time so I'm going to ask you the closing question we ask, I guess. If you're being sent a contract to sign today, what would impress you?

 

Matt Archer: For me, in a contract that impressed me, it's all about the clarity of understanding and I think that's important to have on both sides. So, for me, it needs to be short, it needs to be simple, plain language, you know, a contract that everyone can understand. And also understand there's consequences if something goes wrong or if something doesn't happen. Lots of contracts are complex and pointlessly complex and some of it's probably to almost, like, confuse the person. So for me, it's just all about clarity of understanding for both sides in terms of understanding the actual contract and then also understanding what will happen if something doesn't happen or it goes wrong.

 

Charles Brecque: That's a great answer and I think you're right there. When entering an agreement, we tend to focus on the positives, as we should, but you should also have an appreciation of the negatives or at least what happens when things go wrong. Because, at the end of the day, a contract is all about managing risk. Because, unfortunately, things do go wrong or don't go to plan and you need to make sure that it's clear from the start. Because otherwise, that's when surprises happen and relationships can sour if there isn't a proper agreement in place. So, great answer, thank you for taking the time to be on the show and best of luck growing Neucruit.

 

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