Digital Service Provider for clinical studies

Laura Diez

Startup Stories

Matthias Ruhri, co-founder of Probando, recognized that a shortage of participants in medical studies can have serious consequences. In fact, nine out of ten clinical trials fail due to recruitment issues, resulting in significant delays in research. Especially in times of pandemics, this is a pressing issue. Probando has created a digital platform that enables matchmaking between studies and suitable participants. Interested individuals can view the projects on the website and learn about the requirements, rewards, and time required for participation. 

How would you explain your solution in three sentences to a professional colleague from the health sector?

"Probando is a Digital Service Provider for Clinical Trial Management, specializing in recruiting suitable participants (healthy and patients) for clinical and non-clinical studies, (medical) product tests and surveys. For this purpose, we developed a matchmaking solution using ML-algorithms and also plan and implement public relations for studies. Additionally, to our matchmaking service, we launched ProbandoPay as a payment management solution to reimburse expense allowance to participants."

What problem motivated you to start the company? 

"In 2017, my co-founder colleague Manuel was at an international research conference in the US and at a networking dinner he talked to other researchers about their challenges. In unison, study recruitment was mentioned as a major pain point. That led to the basic idea behind Probando. It is incredibly important to bring the topic of studies to the general population and to create more awareness for it. Many people in Europe still have a negative perception of clinical trials. As a founding team, we have always pursued the vision that we want to add value to society with what we do."

How do you convince a pharmaceutical company, a health insurance company or another 
potential client to set up a pilot project with you? 

"What counts for us is being absolute transparent towards our customers and clients. We regularly exchange information and give & get feedback. If, for example, a campaign for a study is not going well, we communicate this very clearly and say that we need to optimize. At the same time, we think about how we can do it better and also offer concrete suggestions for optimization. Our way of working can best be described as hands-on. I believe that this is also an important added value with which we score points with pharmaceutical companies. What is special about us is that the whole team is very focused and patient-oriented. We keep getting feedback that our hands-on mentality combined with openness and transparency is very much appreciated. We now work internationally in over 20 countries worldwide, and our platform is translated into 16 languages."

Who are your current customer (groups) and who do you want your potential customers to be? 

"We serve 2 groups at the same time: on the one hand the study participants (B2C) and on the other hand the B2B-clients. One of our core competencies is the approach to special target groups in the B2C area. As experts in the field of digital recruitment, we already reached more than 15m people. Our B2B clients now include large pharmaceutical companies (Bayer, Novo Nordisk, Lilly...), several universities (Charité, Uni Heidelberg, MedUni Vienna,...), contract research organizations, study centers, and individual researchers. We are already active in Europe, Israel, US and Canada."

Where do you see yourself in 3 years and how can 5-HT support you?

"We are currently in the process of becoming the pharmaceutical industry's preferred outsourced partner. As a managed service provider, we will also offer payment processing of reimbursements, feasibility studies and numerous other services (recurring revenues). In 3 years, we will be an internationally known player in the field of digital support of clinical studies. We would be delighted if the 5-HT supports us in networking with potential new customers and clients."

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