A majority of Dutch academic medical centers are collaborating with Castor EDC to capture standardized medical research data

Health-tech scale-up is helping the Netherlands lead the way in applying FAIR data in medical research


Amsterdam, Netherlands – September 4, 2019

Castor EDC has issued two more site licenses to major Dutch university medical centers. The data capture platform is now available to all researchers at the University Medical Center of Utrecht (UMCU) and the AMC location of the Amsterdam UMC. This provides them with a user-friendly means of capturing, integrating and standardizing research data. 

Five of the eight UMCs in the Netherlands currently hold a site license for the platform. With these new partnerships, Castor’s advanced tools are now in use at all the major medical centers in the Netherlands. This means that the majority of medical researchers in the Netherlands can now store and process research data according to FAIR principles, thanks to Castor EDC. 

FAIR Data: Faster, better results

The FAIR Data Principles are a set of guiding principles that aim to make medical research data findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. The goal of FAIR is to enable researchers around the world to benefit from each other’s research data. Ultimately, FAIR makes it easier for researchers to collaborate, lowers costs, and improves research infrastructure and quality. These principles are aligned with Castor’s goal of “helping accelerate medical research by unlocking the potential of every byte of research data.”

“Saving time in a race against the clock”

The UMCU has expressed its trust in working with Castor. Above all, the medical center values the emphasis that Castor places on FAIR. “FAIR data is above all about saving time in a race against the clock, which is exactly what finding treatments and medicines often is,” says Teus Kappen, MD, PhD, Chief Science Information Officer at UMCU. “By making information accessible and reusable via Castor EDC, we will be able to make progress faster than previously possible.”

Chris Polman, PhD, a member of the Board of Directors at the Amsterdam UMC, is also impressed with the possibilities that Castor EDC offers: “Castor is already being widely used at the VUmc location of the Amsterdam UMC, so it is a logical step to have a site license for both locations. This will enable all of our researchers to capture data in a manner that is secure and compliant. It is also important that the data we collect can be reused for further research wherever possible. Castor also supports us during the implementation to capture data in accordance with FAIR data principles.”

Progress for the Netherlands in medical research worldwide

Once all the major research centers are using a FAIR system, the data they capture can be used optimally, says Barend Mons, PhD, one of the academics behind the FAIR data initiative. “Readily usable research data is essential to maintaining a high level of innovation. The fact that Dutch medical centers are taking this idea seriously gives them an advantage in the research world. The Castor platform perfectly translates FAIR principles into a practical, user-friendly environment.” 

Gaining traction in academia

For Castor EDC, the new investment from UMCU and the contract with the Amsterdam UMC are important steps, enabling the company to now serve the majority of Dutch medical research centers. “For us, this is a perfect opportunity to support medical research in the Netherlands and implement FAIR data more quickly,” says Derk Arts, MD, PhD, Founder and CEO of Castor. “This investment is also an important step for our platform. Along with the collaboration with the Leiden University Medical Center, we are gaining even more traction in the academic world.”

Castor launches at the UMCU and AMC

Soon, 2,000 researchers at the UMCU and 2,500 at the AMC will be using Castor. It is important to ensure that the integration of the platform at these medical centers runs as smoothly as possible. That is why Castor will play an active role in implementing the platform. Through launch events featuring speakers, training sessions for each department and masterclasses about medical research, all researchers will have an opportunity to get to know the application.

About Castor EDC

Castor EDC was founded in 2012 by Derk Arts and has already captured 100,000,000+ data points since its inception. The data capture platform hosts more than 4,000 research projects in over 220 internationally renowned academic and commercial institutions including Leiden UMC and Radboud UMC in The Netherlands, King’s College Hospital in London, and Akron Children’s Hospital and Nebraska Methodist in the US, as well as Philips and Xcenda. Today, more than 30,000 academic, medical device, biotech and pharmaceutical professionals use Castor EDC, spread over 50 countries, with the majority in the Netherlands, UK and US. 

In 2017, the company received a €1.1 million subsidy from the EU under the Horizon 2020 initiative of the European Commission. In 2018, it attracted around €5 million from investors at INKEF Capital who specialize in healthcare. Castor has over 50 employees across offices in Amsterdam and the United States. Learn more at castoredc.com.

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