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Cancer Analytics Company Acquired in $1.9B Deal

Genomics graphic

(National Human Genome Research Institute, NIH)

16 February 2018. The global pharmaceutical company Roche is purchasing the cancer data management and analytics enterprise Flatiron Health in New York for $1.9 billion. The acquisition is expected to to boost Roche’s capabilities in precision medicine, where cancer treatments are guided by the patient’s molecular make-up as much as the type of the cancer.

Flatiron Health provides data analytics for cancer research and therapeutics that the company says delve deeper into clinical experiences than most other systems based largely on data from insurance claims. Among the company’s offerings is OncoCloud, a cloud-based electronic health database designed for data related to cancer, that includes an electronic health record created for cancer patient data with analytics and billing modules. The service also includes a portal for patient access.

Flatiron says 265 community clinics and academic health centers provide electronic health records for its database. Access to these records, says the company makes it possible to perform more detailed analysis over time, linking patients’ outcomes to genomics, an essential requirement for precision medicine. In addition, says Flatiron, its systems can abstract unstructured data, such as doctors’ notes, using machine-learning algorithms. FDA collaborated with Flatiron on a review of cancer immunotherapies, making use of the company’s store of real-world data, in a study published in January.

Under the agreement, Roche is acquiring Flatiron for $1.9 billion; the company already held a 12.6 percent equity stake in the company. However, Flatiron will continue to operate largely as before, maintaining its partnerships with other companies in the industry. The companies underscore that they will maintain the protection of Flatiron’s patient data.

Daniel O’Day, CEO of Roche, says in a joint statement, “This is an important step in our personalized healthcare strategy for Roche, as we believe that regulatory-grade real-world evidence is a key ingredient to accelerate the development of, and access to, new cancer treatments.” As reported in Science & Enterprise in 2015, Roche also acquired a majority equity stake in the cancer genetics company Foundation Medicine, in a deal valued at $1.2 billion. Foundation Medicine provides a personalized genomics profile of patients’ solid-tumor and blood-related cancers.

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