If Corengi founder, Ryan Luce, invited you over for dinner with his family you could expect that conversation would start by asking his two kids about soccer practice and it would quickly move to healthcare. “Essentially, my kids are bored out of their mind every night,” he quips. Luce is the founder of Corengi, a company that has built a matching engine that helps individuals easily search for clinical trials.
Luce has a Ph.D. in chemistry and has been working in online healthcare since 2000. His wife is a registered nurse currently working as a consultant to bring down hospital acquired infection rate. Beside the professional connection, there is also a personal side to the Corengi story for Luce. Back in 2001 Luce’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and later enrolled in a clinical trial that was investigating a new surgical technique for treatment of this disease. Later in 2004 Luce and his wife found themselves combing through all available research on congenital diaphragmatic hernia when his youngest son was diagnosed with this condition before he was born. For Luce, these experiences underlined how clinical trial research may play a role in our lives.
No doubt we or someone we love will at one time or another be faced with a medical challenge. The research that is gathered from clinical trials has the potential of unlocking answers that we’ll need in order to make healthcare decisions. Luce talked about the challenges of clinical trials the biggest of which is enrollment. Corengi’s unique matching engine helps an individual determine what clinical trials may be best suited for them. Providing this information is an important step towards improving enrollment numbers.
I learned that clinical trials don’t always entail trialing drugs but can also introduce individuals to innovative surgical procedures or new approaches on diet. This prompted me to ask Luce describe the top drivers that cause individuals to seek and participate in clinical trials. Luce gave me the A-B-C’s of what they have found in their research.
- Altruism - Individuals are genuinely interested in helping others through their participation.
- Better Care - Clinical trials may open the doors to early access to new medications, more time with healthcare providers or access to certain medical tests that may not be covered by their health insurance.
- Compensation - Participants may benefit from some form of compensation or it could mean additional visits with their healthcare provider that again they may not normally be able to cover.
Corengi’s initial focus has been Type II Diabeties but they have received a great deal of support for their efforts in the form of grants and healthcare accelerator programs that partner promising entrepreneurs with key industry leaders. They hope to scale their work and begin to add support for more medical conditions. The upcoming NW Startup DEMO event will give Corengi the chance to share and improve upon their solution.
NW Startup DEMO Finalist