Three questions with…


Don Butler

Chief Commercial Officer

uMotif’s Chief Commercial Officer Don Butler answers questions and offers insight on the current eCOA/ePRO landscape, how he sees the market changing, what guides him in his role and more. 


Tell us about your domain expertise, and why you chose to work in the clinical trials industry.

18 years ago, I was working for a technology company that sold into commercial teams at pharmaceutical companies. At that point, my Mom was diagnosed with Stage 3 Ovarian Cancer, which has a really poor prognosis. I got to see first-hand the plight of a patient who needs help from medicine, but there isn’t a commercially available drug that is a good fit.

And so, we had to enter the world of clinical trials to find something that might help her. As that played out, I saw the hardships parents, families, and particularly patients have in navigating this mysterious world. It piqued my interest so much, I pivoted from my job on the commercial side into the clinical trial-drug development side because of the impact trials can have on patients, and especially patients who are in tough positions. Since then, my Mom is an 18-year survivor and I’ll continue to work with innovative tech companies that improve the drug development process.

What are your views on the current eCOA/ePRO market?

The market consists largely of legacy players that are constrained by old technology platforms. There’s been little material innovation since the move from paper to the digital world. The market hasn’t met the challenge to give patients the experience they deserve.

uMotif has brought a modern platform into this space, so we can innovate new technologies that allow us to do really important things. It’s what makes this market exciting today, to be at an emerging company that brings a fresh approach.

When you think of applications like Instagram or TikTok, people use them because they’re modern, easy and attractive. Why shouldn’t clinical trial participants have the same engaging experience? uMotif brings patients a much better way to use technology that helps enhance their trial journey, starting with the way they interact. It brings better compliance and better data to sponsors. It has a positive impact on trials, and can accelerate them.

You’ve been with some of the industry’s largest organizations. What made you decide to join uMotif, and how is it different from your other experiences?

Also, what guides you in your role as a Chief Commercial Officer?

A couple reasons. First and foremost, innovation by design exists in emerging companies like uMotif, that have something that can change an existing industry or create a whole new one.

Largely speaking, the bigger companies in our market have consolidated. They’ve bought and rolled up companies that couldn’t make a go on their own. And that’s just not where the real change happens. That’s why I’m at uMotif specifically – because of the innovation, and also for the opportunity to serve the eCOA/ePRO space that’s ripe for disruption. Patients deserve a better experience, which in turn benefits pharmaceutical companies. And that’s right where uMotif plays. Second, the people at uMotif have been in the industry and operated at scale. They know how to work at the level where we’re going, and where we need to be to realize our mission. Across every function of the business – whether it be delivery, marketing or product – there’s a leader in that role who has operated at a much bigger scale and is here to take uMotif on that growth journey.

The possibility of helping others guides me in my role as Chief Commercial Officer – even though it might not help you personally – is a big reason why many people participate in a clinical trial. Maybe it will prolong your life or quality of life a little bit, but they do it to advance medicine, and that’s awesome.

That’s what makes this space exciting, and the people who tend to do well in this industry are driven by a personal mission. I want to bring this vision to reality. We’re making things better for patients and for future generations who are going to rely on the outcomes of these trials.

We’re a mission-driven organization. We’re building a great team. We enjoy working with each other. We have a common goal. And we’re very careful, as I am in leading the commercial team, to bring on people who fit within our culture of innovation and collaboration, and everything that makes uMotif a fun, exciting place to work day in and day out.

Connect with Don on LinkedIn to arrange a meeting, or to discuss more about how uMotif’s eCOA/ePRO platform can transform patient engagement in your next study.