New healthcare and technology bedfellows are promising huge innovations in diagnosis, care, and cures. By accessing data differently and making it actionable, these billion dollar ($B) startups promise to change everything from cancer detection to clinical trial recruitment. Here are a few that are grabbing investor and customer attention and money.
Early Cancer Detection: Grail, Inc, a biotech company founded in 2015 aims to develop blood tests that detect cancer early, when a cure is much more possible. So far, this year, the company has raised $900 Million in Series B funding. Investors include ARCH Venture Partners, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, and Amazon (complete list here). Their unique approach to cancer detection (high-intensity genomic sequencing) that detects circulating tumor DNA was presented at ASCO in Chicago last month. Their approach yields 100 times the data of other approaches. Grail expects to generate ‘datasets of unprecedented scale to enable the deepest and most comprehensive understanding of cancer biology.’ The data will be the basis for developing blood tests.
Curing Cancer: GroupOn cofounder Eric Lefkofsky is self-funding a new company called Tempus, with an aim to build ‘the world’s largest library of molecular and clinical data and an operating system to make that data accessible and useful.’ The centralized database will allow doctors to learn from past patients, find people with similar molecular and clinical profiles, and zero in on the most effective treatment options. Tempus is partnered with several cancer centers that refer patients for molecular and clinical reports. Doctors are given access to the system. Lefkofsky’s venture into precision medicine is the result his wife’s experience with cancer care. He became convinced that the data infrastructure was inadequate and found that no one in the field could supply low-cost, high-quality clinical and molecular data with the ability to scale as intended. So, he’s building an end-to-end solution. His take on current EHR systems is that they are not equipped to deal with the ‘universe of data that now exists.’ Kevin White, the president of Tempus will be speaking at MedCity CONVERGE.
iOS For Enterprise: Health and technology sectors were surprised three years ago when Apple and IBM forged a partnership called MobileFirst for iOS. The partners develop iPhone and iPad apps for different industries. To date, the partnership has developed 6 hospital grade software programs and custom apps for thousands of organizations. IBM and Apple plan to continue their partnership focused on mobile. IBM currently has more than 10,000 designers and developers focused on enterprise iOS apps for business. Last month IBM announced that MobileFirst has generated several billion dollars in signings from over 3,800 client engagements.
Marketing to Doctors and Patients at the Point of Care: In January, the marketing company ContextMedia rebranded. It’s new name is Outcome Health and its ‘expanded vision’ is to deliver health intelligence through its technology platform.
Outcome installs tablets and interactive screens in doctors’ offices that display medical information from content partners. They also display ads, primarily from pharmaceutical companies. Concurrent with the rebranding announcement Outcome Health launched a clinical trial recruitment platform into its hardware located in clinics and doctors’ offices across the United States. Outcome Health acquired its leading competitor, AccentHealth in November 2016 and recently raised $500 million in venture capital investors led by Goldman Sachs, Pritzger Group Venture Capital, and Google’s parent company Alphabet. The startup is worth over $5 billion. It’s grand but vague mission and huge numbers make some think of the former investor favorite Theranos. Time will tell.
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