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Cancer Data Start-Up Lands $8 Million in Venture Funds

Currency dice (MD4 Group/Flickr)Flatiron Health in New York, developing data analytics for cancer research and therapeutics, secured $8 million in series A funding, the first round of financing after initial start-up. The investment round was led by Google Ventures, with First Round Capital, Laboratory Corporation of America, Great Oaks Capital, The Social+Capital Partnership, SV Angel, IA Ventures and individual angel investors.

The founders of Flatiron Health, Nat Turner and Zach Weinberg, say they started the company last year after witnessing family and friends suffer from cancer. They discovered through this experience that health care providers and researchers lacked many of the basic data analysis tools used regularly in other industries.

Turner and Weinberg founded Invite Media, an advertising technology and software company acquired by Google in 2010. They used their earlier business experience to learn about the data requirements of cancer researchers in developing therapies and clinical oncologists in treating patients, and founded Flatiron Health to meet these analytics needs.

They discovered traditional health care analytics are based largely on claims data, which lack the depth required to understand a disease as complex as cancer. In addition, say Turner and Weinberg, oncology needs a solution that does not require clinicians to change their behavior or add additional staff to manually enter data. The Flatiron approach builds from the unstructured information captured in doctor and nurse notes, pathology reports, and other free text forms.

Turner and Weinberg say the Flatiron platform will track hundreds of metrics related to cancer care, monitor adherence to national guidelines across their clinicians, and match patients to clinical trials in real-time. The platform will help administrators and clinicians gain deeper analytics for business and clinical intelligence, resource utilization, treatment patterns, network management, and research.

Funds from the investment will be used to expand Flatiron Health’s engineering and product teams. The Flatiron technology, says the company, is in private beta with a group of health care providers and other partners in the U.S.

“Nat and Zach’s passion to address this challenge and reputation for building disruptive software companies were key in our decision to lead the round,” says Krishna Yeshwant, general partner at Google Ventures who joined Flatiron Health’s board. “Oncology is one of the fastest growing and unique segments of the health care industry, and oncologists and researchers need new and advanced tools to keep up.”

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Hat tip: Fortune/Term Sheet

Image: MD4 Group/Flickr

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