Developing drugs is risky and expensive, but you still need novel and sometimes crazy ideas to cure serious illnesses and, to stop pandemics. Swedish SaaS-startup Captario offers pharma companies a safe simulation model to help them make the right strategical decisions.

Captario’s US office is located in downtown Manhattan in New York, a city that has been badly hit by the COVID-19. But even though the team has been working remotely since the outbreak, they seem to be busier than ever.

“The pandemic puts a lot of pressure on pharma companies to make the right decisions, both in developing a vaccine for COVID-19 and in developing other drugs, and we want to help”, said Erik Post, president Captario US.

 Successful progression of clinical trials is the key to get new drugs to the market. Still, right now, difficulties recruiting test patients, lack of test center availability, and uncertainty about the market are causing delays.

“Pharma companies are struggling with questions like should the development of drugs be stopped or, accelerated accepting delays and higher costs? Should we focus on project X or project Y?” said Post.

In an earlier corporate pitch, a spokesperson for Captario talked about crazy ideas with the potential of becoming game-changer when it comes to curing diseases, but often not developed because of the risk and costs involved.

“When project or governance teams discuss design options, novel ideas pop up. These might be voiced, but often they are stopped by the conventional wisdom that unexpected ideas are not worth pursuing and that it is better to play it safe,” Post explained.

Captario is marketing their cloud-based platform Captario SUM as a tool that makes complex analysis of different scenarios in an early stage easy, and also makes it possible to bring all stakeholders to the same table. These are major advantages, according to Post: “by coming together, better and more cost-efficient drugs will reach patients in need faster – and you don’t want to miss those crazy ideas”.

Captario was founded in 2012 by former employees from Astra Zeneca that saw the need to improve strategic decision. The company is headquartered in Gothenburg in Sweden. The office in New York was set up last year to support US clients, and they have recently started to launch their business in other parts of the US. The Bay Area is one region of interest for the company, and Captario is a member of SACC-SF/SV.

Post visited San Francisco in the beginning of the year, before the coronavirus outbreak, and presented the company for the Chamber as well as possible partners. He is planning to return as soon as it is possible.

“Several big pharma corporations have drug development in the Bay Area and we are convinced that our tool could help them bring drugs faster to the market.”

So, what is keeping the management team awake during nights? Post’s answer to that question catches the message during the whole interview.

“How we make large pharmaceutical companies understand that Captario SUM really could help them. Right now, in these challenging times of COVID-19, but also in the long run.”

Captario is currently targeting the top pharma companies in the world – trying to get a slot for a pitch. The company already has contracts with two of the global top 40, one of which is UCB. Captario also collaborates with a handful of other companies in the US, primarily in the Northeast, out of their New York City office.

Byline: Margaretha Levander