Innovation & Enterprise


Patient recruitment for COVID-19 trials to be streamlined by UCL tech startup Neucruit

11 November 2020

UCL-based Neucruit has developed a unique digital platform to help in the recruitment and engagement of patients in clinical trials.

Young person wearing a facemask, sitting at a computer

The aim of the platform is to speed up scientific advances and ultimately bring health benefits to people sooner. Neucruit recently secured a £300,000 grant from Innovate UK to aid with COVID-19 clinical research.

UCL-born startup

Neucruit grew out of the UCL Artificial Intelligence (AI) Society, led by founder Livia Ng (UCL BSc Neuroscience).

Formerly called CT-X, the startup moved into BaseKX, UCL’s dedicated entrepreneurship hub in early 2020. There they received business advice, mentorship and the right environment to structure and grow the company further.

Streamlining clinical trials

Neucruit’s solution consists of a web-based trial management system that uses AI to automate patient recruitment and retention into clinical trials. 

The platform uses natural language processing (NLP) and outreach algorithms to automate the patient outreach process, analyse patient profiles and help diversify/optimise patient samples. This automation means researchers can meet recruitment targets for trials faster and cheaper than by using existing methods.

For prospective participants, the platform helps them understand what’s involved in clinical research and ensures they give informed consent. It also makes sure they remain part of the study for its duration, helping ensuring success of the clinical trial.

Supporting COVID-19 research

Neucruit has already been working with 12 universities globally, on 56 research studies involving 2,500 patients. Many of these studies are community-based, mental health studies. But the recent Innovative UK funding presents an unparalleled new opportunity, as Livia Ng, now CEO of Neucruit, explains: 

“Over the next year, we’re going to be using the funding to build our platform to facilitate COVID-19 clinical research in the UK. There are going to be three trials, all COVID-19 related, looking at preventative measures and outcomes with respect to health comorbidities or social factors in a clinical setting.”

Livia adds that Neucruit retains strong links with UCL Innovation & Enterprise and collaborates with various UCL academic departments on research trials.

Jerry Allen, Director of Entrepreneurship at UCL Innovation & Enterprise, said: “With the coronavirus pandemic likely to be with us in some form for years, solutions like Neucruit will help us adapt. Their platform will expedite research into COVID-19 and other areas of health and wellbeing.

“The company has benefited enormously from the entire UCL ecosystem. From the vibrant student AI society, to the advice and mentorship provided here at UCL Innovation & Enterprise and links with clinical and academic departments. I wish them all the best in their mission.”


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Photo © Kirsten Holst