Virtual research organisation (VRO) ObvioHealth announced on Thursday that it has raised $31m in series B funding.

The funding round was led by two new investors, healthcare IT and diagnostic software provider Dedalus Group and biotech-specialist contract research organisation (CRO) Novotech Health, who together contributed $18.5m.

The rest of the funds came from AT Capital Group and initial investor SPRIM Global Investments.

This is ObvioHealth’s second major funding round after it secured $17m in May 2020.

The firm’s patient-centric decentralised clinical trial (DCT) smartphone app enables anyone to participate in clinical trials from anywhere in the world.

Since launching in 2015, the VRO has conducted 42 studies across more than 17 therapeutic areas in 28 countries and established offices in Singapore and Orlando, Florida.

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ObvioHealth is also IQVIA Consumer Health’s preferred engine for virtual consumer scientific research.

Now ObvioHealth can expand its reach even further. The partnership with Dedalus will allow ObvioHealth to integrate clinical research with electronic health record data to expedite clinical trial design and recruitment across over 6,000 hospitals and clinics and more than 330 million patients.

This will enable researchers to identify more precise patient subpopulations while maintaining full compliance with European privacy and data safety regulations, said ObvioHealth.

“The collaboration is born out of our strategic focus on clinical safety and efficiency,” said Dedalus founder and ObvioHealth board member Giorgio Moretti.

“Dedalus will facilitate the collaboration of healthcare stakeholders through Dedalus systems, enabling the transformation of clinical data into clinical knowledge. This will result in huge benefits for patients, healthcare professionals and for the clinical research industry at large. ObvioHealth is already helping to bring new drugs and devices to market by making clinical trials faster and safer. The financial investment from Dedalus testifies to its commitment in supporting this transformation.”

CRO Novotech specialises in conducting clinical research for biotech companies in Asia-Pacific, which ObvioHealth describes as a fast-moving market with an appetite for virtual trials.

The partnership means ObvioHealth will become Novotech’s preferred provider for virtual clinical trials in APAC, where Novotech has 29 offices. In return, Novotech will become ObvioHealth’s preferred CRO in the region for hybrid and virtual trials.

“Our efficient approach to conducting clinical trials is a key driver of our growth in the biotech space, where clients are seeking faster and more cost-efficient solutions,” said Novotech CEO John Moller. “Virtual trials offer patients greater access to the important clinical trials conducted across our region.”

ObvioHealth says that the new injection of funds will help the company boost the IT capabilities of its proprietary ecosystem and platform for conducting virtual clinical trials, including the GDPR compliant bridging software to query electronic health record data.

The firm also stated that it plans to onboard key hires over the next year, particularly in Asia, with a view to expand the Singapore office into a technology hub.

“The addition of Dedalus and Novotech as investors and partners is a real boon to ObvioHealth’s strategic roadmap,” said ObvioHealth CEO Ivan Jarry. “Both companies are leaders in their respective fields. These complementary assets will allow us to continue to grow our global footprint and extend our virtual trial competencies beyond traditional boundaries.”

The news of ObvioHealth’s capital infusion adds to a string of large investments in the DCT space in recent months. The industry has been spurred on by the Covid-19 pandemic and the disruption caused to traditional ways of conducting clinical research.

On Tuesday, randomisation and trial supply management firm 4G Clinical announced it has entered into an agreement to receive a growth equity investment of over $230m from Goldman Sachs. In May DCT specialist Science 37 announced its merger with LifeSci Acquisition II Corp. The deal, which is expected to close in Q3, will value Science 37 at $1.05 billion.