From The Editor | January 24, 2024

Founders & Innovators To Share Clinical Trial Tech Insights


By Dan Schell, Chief Editor, Clinical Leader

Jodi Akin
Jodi Akin

This is part of a series of articles I'm writing in preparation for attending my first SCOPE Summit. Micah Lieberman and all the staff at SCOPE have been very helpful connecting me with some of the presenters and panelists at this year's conference. These articles are not part of a barter agreement; instead, they are just a way for me, the newbie in the industry, to learn more about some of the topics being discussed at this year's event. Due to scheduling conflicts and limited time on my part, some of these articles will appear after the SCOPE Summit.

Jodi Akin has led clinical trials all over the world for breakthrough technologies, and she’s been a serial entrepreneur and a serial founder. But, her new company, Hawthorne Effect, is her first in the clinical trial space. At SCOPE, Akin will join five other CEOs and founders on a panel titled, “Overcoming Hurdles to Fundraising, Pilots, and Scaling” as part of the colocated Clinical Trial Tech: Venture, Innovation & Partnering event.

“As a founder or innovator, you’re faced with so much more than just building a product or a new platform,” Akin explains. “You have to figure out how to integrate your company and product into a market — and do so in light of what the current investment trends are dictating.”

At last year’s SCOPE Summit, Akin gave a keynote presentation, moderated a panel, and helped coordinate the inaugural track on investment and entrepreneurship. This year, she says she’s looking forward to focusing more on the founder’s experience and getting ideas to “stick” and become mainstream. “I plan to talk a lot about how you navigate the continuous progress of bringing your product to market when you may be faced with unprecedented challenges like a dearth of investment or market hype. Those are things I don't think anyone predicts when they invent an idea.”

The description in the SCOPE Summit brochure says this panel will discuss:

What is it like to be a Founder or CEO in 2023? What has changed over the past 12-24 months? What has it been like fundraising at this time? How has this process changed over the past year? Are there other/alternative approaches to fundraising that you have started to explore (e.g., debt, SBIR grants, etc.)? What experience do you want to share about working with venture capital investors?

Although Akin says she is excited to be a part of this panel and share her experiences building a company, she also stresses that meetings/conferences like this often provide value beyond the tips and knowledge shared in the educational sessions. As an example, she recounted how at last year’s SCOPE Summit she met Tony Clapsis of CVS Health, and now he is on Hawthorne Effect’s board. (Watch our Clinical Leader Live “CVS And Walgreens Survey The Patient Recruitment Landscape” that featured Tony in 2023.)

“I am all about ecosystem development and ecosystem collaboration at conferences like this,” Akin says.  “It's lovely to see that the industry has reached this inflection point where we recognize that, to break down old problems, we need new ways of solving them, and that requires collaboration across a market, not just a single company. I think this is really happening; we’re at that moment in the market where things are distilling, and we're all becoming supportive colleagues of each other.”