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Activator Update: Kelvin Brown of Karneyium Health


Kelvin Brown

CEO, Karneyium Health - Increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in healthcare through technology www.karneyium.com





 

No matter where he was working, Kelvin Brown knew he was experiencing a recurring anomaly. Investigating the situation further, however, led to a stark realization that it wasn’t an anomaly – it was a simple, unfortunate reality of the medical industry.


“I've worked at The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, Emory Children's Health Care of Atlanta and their Winship Cancer Institute, and Big Pharma – all kinds of institutions in the neuro-oncology space. As I was enrolling patients in  clinical trials, executing and implementing national programs, I saw that there was a huge disparity between people of color and access to these trials,” says Brown, the CEO of Karneyium Health, an equity-driven data and AI-analytics platform for health systems, pharmaceutical companies and CROs . “When we took a deep dive into why clinical trial access disparities existed, we uncovered social barriers that were impeding or inhibiting patients from enrolling and remaining in specific trials … I thought, there needs to be a better solution to meet patients where they are and why not tap into this sleeping giant of community health systems that are in America.”


REVOLUTION THROUGH REVELATION


As noted above, Karneyium – a combination of Brown’s family’s middle name and its scientific suffix to mean “championing positive change” – seeks to advance access to clinical trials via technology for more inclusive, target, and streamlined clinical research. In doing so, the company hopes to revolutionize clinical trials, bringing cutting-edge tech to those battling certain diseases/illnesses in the face of standard-of-care options that aren’t working for them. Additionally, Karneyium seeks to alleviate barriers like distance, which can hinder a patient’s ability to access clinical trials for medicine that may extend or improve their quality of life. 


Originally coming to town to be closer to his wife Miranda (who was then his fiancé and studying at The Ohio State University), Brown is impressed with “Cincinnati and its efforts to increase the entrepreneurial and startup ecosystem.”


In October 2023, Karneyium received a $10,000 Launch Grant from Main Street Ventures which was used to help “button up” the company’s MVP, or minimal viable product. Brown, who learned of Main Street Ventures during his current MBA studies at the University of Cincinnati and haven successfully taken his company though UC’s Pre-Accelerator, says the grant helped significantly in preparing the platform for its next step.


INNOVATION THROUGH INTEGRATION


In December 2023, Karneyium was selected to receive funding from Johnson & Johnson Innovation, a significant recognition. Up next for Brown? Getting Karneyium’s product ready to launch secure pilot initiatives with major pharmaceutical companies, CROs, and hospitals. This, Brown hopes, will be followed by a seed round of funding for further development.


“It’s been an eye-opening journey connecting with pharmaceutical sponsors and health systems. The drug development industry is attracted to our product because it anticipates the future of clinical trials will increasingly leverage community health systems as clinical trial sites, aiming to enhance diversity and representation,” Brown says. “We want to help the drug development industry understand these community health systems are open to taking on more clinical trials, they just need the opportunities. It has been incredibly rewarding to be on the cutting edge of this movement because technology is going to be a cornerstone in how clinical trials are executed within community health systems and democratized abroad.”


None of it would be possible, Brown says, without that first grant that he and so many others receive from Main Street Ventures.


“Talent must continue to be built and nurtured in the city of Cincinnati and Main Street Ventures should be getting more credit for doing those very things. Early interaction with startups and STEM students can help bring or keep talent here locally, so I really love what they are doing,” he says. “I love how they’re helping improve entrepreneurs’ journeys to success, from first-time founders to seasoned multi-company founders. I want to make sure Main Street Ventures gets credit as an accelerant to companies in the Cincinnati startup ecosystem.”










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