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Exclusive: Science 37 alums launch psychedelic research platform

Illustration of a large cap mushroom inside of a pill bottle.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

People Science wants to revamp the clinical research ecosystem for non-traditional medicines.

Why it matters: People raised a second seed round of $5.3 million led by Acre Venture Partners, CEOs Noah Craft and Belinda Tan tell Axios exclusively.

  • Other participants included Bluestein Ventures, Thia Ventures and Form Life Ventures, bringing the company's total funding to $8.5 million.
  • People will use the funds to hone its technology platform, hire more staff focused on customer growth and expand into nutrition.
  • As part of the funding, Acre managing partner Lucas Mann joins People's board of directors.
  • Craft predicts the company will raise its Series A this fall.

Context: While traditional pharmaceuticals have a clear, albeit slow, path to approval, alternative medicines are much more cumbersome to study — and People joins a nascent group of companies innovating in the space.

  • Bolt founder Ryan Breslow last August pulled in $7.5 million in seed funding for his latest venture Love, which aims to gather real world evidence on homeopathic solutions, generic chemicals and non-substance based treatments.

How it works: Based in Los Angeles, People designs protocols, recruits participants, oversees and conducts studies to match regulatory goals of clients including consumers, digital health companies and researchers.

  • Tan and Craft say the company's core differentiation strategy is its focus on enabling individuals to answer the question: Does this alternative medicine work for me?
  • The company's platform links patients, doctors and scientists to help test alternative therapies including psychedelic medicines, nutrition-based approaches, cannabis and the microbiome.
  • People's proprietary data collection tool, called CHLOE (Consumer Health Learning and Organizing Ecosystem) is an app for research participants.

The backstory: Tan and Craft previously cofounded and led Science 37, a decentralized clinical trial technology company that in 2021 went public through a $1 billion SPAC deal.

State of play: The company began running sponsored clinical studies late last year and hopes to make the app available to the public without a need to be enrolled in an existing study later this year.

  • "We want to empower people to be the scientist, to design their own studies and learn what works and what doesn't," Tan says.
  • While randomized controlled trials (RCTs) remain the gold standard for drug development, recent FDA guidance encourages researchers to also incorporate real-world evidence.

The intrigue: There's a big difference between anecdotal data based on individual experiences and rigorous clinical research, and People will need to get from one to the other.

  • "This makes data collection and observational note-taking accurate and transmissible to other scientists," says Craft.

What's next: "We’d like for this to be a massively scaled software tool that goes global," Tan says.

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