Editor’s note: This story is part of our 2022 PharmaVoice 100 feature.
When Matt Walz’s 6-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, he was already a software leader in life sciences. But watching his daughter bravely battle cancer and participate in multiple clinical trials would later intersect with his career in a significant way.
After she was given just a 10% chance of survival, Walz and his wife eagerly enrolled her in clinical trials made available to her. Luckily, the family lived just 30 miles from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, offering them some of the country’s leading pediatric oncologists and access to multiple clinical research opportunities.
“Walz’s daughter was offered to participate in clinical trials, including interventional drug trials, different chemotherapy combinations and new procedures,” Walz’s nominator says.
Ultimately, she beat the odds and today “is a healthy college student at the beginning of her adult life,” a nominator says.
At the time, Walz was building NextDocs, a company he founded that specializes in clinical, quality and regulatory document management systems. NextDocs was purchased by Aurea Software in 2015 and years later, Walz was given the opportunity to lead Trialbee, a company building a platform that would drive greater equity in access to the type of clinical research opportunities afforded to his daughter because of their location.
“Walz would think about his daughter and ponder: If the family had lived in another part of the U.S., or another country, would those clinical trials have been available to her? Would she have had access to the research and experimental treatments?” a nominator explains.
With the goal of democratizing access to clinical trials, Walz joined Trialbee as CEO in 2020, a company striving to match patients with research studies for breakthrough therapies. But it’s not only Trialbee’s mission that sets it apart. According to a nominator, Trialbee is accomplishing this goal with an approach no one else in the industry has tried before: “Using SaaS platforms to enroll clinical trials on a global scale.”
“Identify another leader who possesses the qualities you want for yourself and ask them to be your mentor.”
It’s a solution the industry badly needs.
“With an anticipated 50,000 clinical trials requiring 125 million patients over the next five years, a rapidly changing healthcare landscape and the fact that 80% of trials fail to meet enrollment timelines, clinical trial sponsors face more pressure than ever,” a nominator says.
In just a few years, Trialbee has taken off under Walz’s leadership. A nominator says that Trialbee has doubled its sales each year, boosted its staff by 33% in eight countries — all while securing contracts with a range of companies, including eight of the top 10 global companies in pharma.
“Trialbee’s innovative technology and offerings are available globally in 48 countries with engagements in studies in 24 countries with major CROs, large pharma companies and mid-sized biotechs,” a nominator says.
The company’s flagship SaaS-based solution, Trialbee Honey, tracks all recruitment activities while optimizing enrollment with real-time analytics.
“Since inception, sponsors have used Honey to screen over 500,00 patients, conduct over 5,000 telehealth qualification sessions across more than 20 clinical research studies referring patients to more than 250 research sites in over 10 countries,” a nominator says.
Part of what has made Trialbee hit these heights is Walz’s approach to culture building and leveraging the skills of his team.
“Walz keeps his people close through programmatic engagement, including monthly virtual socials, weekly all-hands virtual meetings and coordinated virtual coffee meet-ups,” a nominator says.
For Walz, these successes all come back to his mission to build a “product/solution that makes needed therapies available to all patients as quickly as possible.”
“Right now, that means building a global platform to accelerate clinical trial patient enrollment,” he says.