Last week, PRIME had the opportunity to talk with Rick Morrison, CEO of Comprehend. In 2012, Rick was named to the PharmaVOICE 100, which recognizes the 100 most influential people in the life sciences industry. Here is his interwiew.

Could you please briefly describe what Comprehend does?
Comprehend’s cloud-based business intelligence solutions enables pharmaceuticals and life science companies to bring new treatments and devices to market faster and more affordably. Its solution allows data managers, executives, clinical operations and others to gain real time critical insights across all of their clinical and operational data by removing silos and offering a more holistic view. Also, because Comprehend is through the cloud, IT departments and related investments are not needed and related software development and long procurement processes are removed. Bottom line, Comprehend Clinical integrates workflow and collaboration capabilities with analysis and dashboard tools across disparate data collection systems, resulting in actionable and available data insights, as well as efficiency and accuracy.

What are the main challenges in dealing with clinical data?
The main problem in the life sciences industry is that it’s a data based industry that spends over $100 million each year collecting and curating new data, yet many of the methods used are antiquated. New data sources are coming online regularly as new studies are conducted, or existing ones are changed. Adaptive clinical trials and risk-based monitoring are just a few of the very promising changes on the way. Technology is going to completely change the way our industry operates over the next 5-10 years, we’re working very hard to make sure Comprehend is at the center of it.

Bio-IT is rapidly gaining traction, do you have a lot of competitors?
Almost every company is currently doing something to understand their data, but more often than not it requires a lot of Microsoft Excel, and headaches. There are a lot a lot of companies (and vendors) that try to build data warehouses, which are large, cumbersome databases that don’t actually work well when new underlying data systems are coming online regularly.
Our competitors are not technology based while we’re a technology company building a new type of approach.

Comprehend just raised $21 Million in Series B, how will this money be invested?
Comprehend has had increasing momentum in the market, including recent additions to its client roster including Boston Scientific, Karyopharm, MERGE, Atlantic Research Group and Versartis. We’re using this money to expand our engineering and solutions teams. We’re also going to invest heavily in product. Due to the nature of the life sciences industry, we’re already expanding internationally and will continue to. This is a global industry.