Major health systems are partnering with digital health companies to advance data-driven clinical research and other life sciences initiatives.
St. Louis-based BJC Healthcare and Washington University School of Medicine helped launch CuriMeta, a real-world data company, with a $6 million seed funding round. The company works with clinical research organizations and health systems to develop real-world datasets that can accelerate research into chronic and acute diseases
The company said it will use the funding to develop its platform and algorithms. CuriMeta CEO and founder, Davis Walp said it is “investing significantly” in better utilizing the data it acquires. It will have access to data from both BJC Healthcare and WashU Medicine as it builds out its platform.
Real-world data leverages existing data sources, such as electronic health records, claims data, wearables and patient surveys, to draw hypotheses in patient populations. Experts say it is an alternative to traditional clinical trials and could bring drugs to market faster.
While still nascent, real-world data has resulted in at least one approval. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Prograf, a drug which can limit organ rejection in adult and pediatric patients receiving lung and other transplants. When approving this drug, the FDA said it was the first example of how a "well-designed, non-interventional (observational) study relying on fit-for-purpose real-world data."
Experts say that by using real-time data, clinicians can acquire a full, 360-view of the patient beyond the walls of the hospital. This can inform healthcare organizations about the benefits and risks associated with various interventions.
Mayo Clinic ventures into cell and gene therapy
Rochester, Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic said on Wednesday it would partner with Hibiscus BioVentures, a venture studio and capital firm, and Innoforce, a biopharmaceutical company, to launch Mayflower BioVentures, a cell and gene therapy accelerator.
According to Andrew Danielson, Chair of Mayo Clinic Ventures, each of the above partners have a one-third stake in the companies that Mayflower produces. While he declined to provide a precise amount, he classified Mayo's investment as “millions of dollars” from the $250 million Mayo Clinic venture fund.
The accelerator will fund companies addressing serious and complex conditions through cell and gene therapies, while advancing usage of Mayo’s regenerative technologies. One company, Sendero, has already been founded. Two others are expected within the next couple of months, Danielson said.
Danielson said the goal of the project is receive financial returns from the accelerator companies after providing significant dollars to develop these technologies to a meaningful, clinical milestone.
While companies are in the Mayflower accelerator, they will be owned by Mayflower. The program’s goal is to provide go-to-market resources to research that can advance Mayo’s appeal as a destination medical provider.
A month ago, Mayo Clinic and Mercy health system announced a 10-year collaboration to develop and commercialize algorithms that tailor patient treatment plans, the health systems said Tuesday.