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HealthMatch CEO and founder Manuri Gunawardena

HealthMatch CEO and founder Manuri Gunawardena. Source: Supplied.

Malcolm Turnbull backs startup HealthMatch in $18m investment round

Australian healthtech startup HealthMatch has raised $18m in a round led by venture capital fund Square Peg, with early backer Tempus Partners doubling down.

New investors in the company include the family office of former Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and Lucy Turnbull, former chair of listed Australian biotechnology company Immutep as well as Singapore’s January Capital who join a string of existing high profile angels and medical experts investing in the company.

HealthMatch’s user growth has led to the company now placing over 2,000 patients a month into clinical trials which range from cancer to eczema in a hope to provide patients with access to new, not-yet approved treatments and ultimately accelerate innovative therapies to standard care sooner.

The company has been building up a demonstrated track record of success in reducing clinical trial recruitment timeframes which has had the eye of many large pharmaceutical companies, biotechs and research organisations.

“What has been incredibly rewarding this year, is to not just see thousands of patients signup and access clinical trials but to see this translate to quicker recruitment outcomes for medical research. Not only are patients gaining access to potentially revolutionary new treatments but we are seeing evidence of increasing the speed of the entire drug development process.” said Manuri Gunawardena, CEO and Founder of HealthMatch.

“Through HealthMatch we have seen entire trials which were taking  up to 18 months for recruitment to be completed in one month. If you look at the follow on effects of quicker recruitment it means that millions of people can potentially access a life changing treatment years earlier – all through connecting people that are interested in participating in a trial now.”

The startup has now raised over $25m since founding in late 2017, with its Series B round being one of Australia’s largest healthtech deals in 2020.

Despite originally not planning to raise capital in 2020, the clinical trial matching platform has experienced strong growth with its user base growing from 8,000 in June 2020 to 80,000 at the start of December, representing a 10x uplift in patients using the service to access clinical trials in less than six months. 

HealthMatch plans to use the funds to rapidly expand through Asia and continue to expand its product.

“We were determined to build a product that focussed firstly on the patient experience and we are now seeing the value of this,” said Ms Gunawardena.

“We have a crystal clear roadmap of how we can continue to deliver on this vision and expand our benefit to patients. We have global ambitions to be a champion for patients in their healthcare journey.”

Lucy Turnbull AO will bring her deep network and industry expertise from her time as chair of Australian biotech Immutep (previously Prima Biomed).

“I am inspired and very excited about the potential of HealthMatch to democratise access for everyone to clinical trials and ultimately accelerate the rate of recruitment for clinical trials,” said Ms Turnbull. “Recruitment for clinical trials is often quite a challenge and by removing barriers HealthMatch is helping advance medical research.”

Other tech heavyweight investors joining this round include Eugene Fooksman, Whatsapp’s founding engineer and Dr. Brandon & Nicky Carp, founders of Unified Healthcare Group.

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Ellie Dudley

Ellie Dudley

Ellie Dudley is a journalist at Dynamic Business with a background in the startup space and current affairs reporting. She has a specific interest in foreign investment and the Australian economy.

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