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Qualcomm backs clinical trials software outfit in $12M round

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With cloud-based software to get clinical trials off the ground faster, goBalto has reeled in $12 million in a new round of financing with backing from wireless giant Qualcomm's ($QCOM) Life Fund and others. Its new investor hopes goBalto's platform can address the steep rise in the cost of developing new therapies.

San Francisco-based goBalto, which has now raised $21 million from investors, was founded in 2008 and has built a platform that enables stakeholders in a drug-development program to track progress toward their goal of starting clinical trials. The web application keeps pharma companies, their contract research organizations (CROs) and trial sites on the same page in an effort to boost efficiency in the process of starting a trial, according to the company.

The pharma industry has adopted new software and IT as part of its uphill battle to increase productivity of drug R&D. To bring a new drug to market, according to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, companies are grappling with a staggering average price tag of more than $1.3 billion.

GoBalto is among a new wave of software companies that aim to chip away at various R&D costs with the help of such new technologies as cloud computing, collaboration software and mobile apps.

"The cost of clinical development has been on the rise at an alarming rate in recent years," said Jack Young, director of Qualcomm Ventures, in a statement. "Adopting digital and mobile technologies could potentially increase the efficiency and reduce errors."

EDBI, which invests for Singapore's Economic Development Board, led the financing round for goBalto, which also raised funds from existing backers Aberdare Ventures, West Health Investment Fund, and goBalto's founding CEO, Jae Chung.

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