据美国国家癌症研究所（National Cancer Institute）称，全美癌症患者共有1300多万人。但据奈特•特纳说，那些希望能开发出更好治疗方案的研究人员和医生却只能针对其中很小一部分人开展研究。
特纳和扎克•维恩伯格都是Flatiron Health公司的联合创始人。这家医疗保健技术公司位于纽约，成立才刚两年。最近它刚拿到谷歌风投（Google Ventures）领衔投资的1.3亿美元，名噪一时。特纳相信，他们公司打造的肿瘤学“云数据平台”可以帮助收集那些影响一半男性及三分之一女性的癌症相关数据。他说，尽管美国每年确诊的癌症有上百万例，但却一直缺乏足够的相关数据去改进癌症治疗方案。
There are more than 13 million people living with cancer in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute, but researchers and doctors hoping to develop better treatments can only learn from a tiny percentage of them, according to Nat Turner.
Along with Zach Weinberg, Turner is a co-founder ofFlatiron Health, a two-year-old healthcare technology company based in New York and best known for recently raising $130 million in an investment round led by Google Ventures GOOG -1.34% . Turner believes that his company’s “cloud-based data platform” for oncology can help gather data on a disease that affects 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women. Despite more than a million cancer diagnoses in the U.S. each year, the field lacks sufficient data to improve treatment of it, he said.
“In America, most of the learning that occurs in healthcare is in clinical trials,” Turner said. Yet a full 96 percent of patients do not participate. “It’s a huge problem: If 100 patients walk in the door, we’re only learning from four of them.”
Information is certainly collected on the other 96%—but it is typically trapped in electronic medical records (EMR) systems and doctors’ notes, Turner said. “Our vision is to aggregate the data on that 96 percent, organize it, and make it usable by physicians, patients, and any of the stakeholders here,” he said. “Ultimately, we want to improve cancer care.”
‘Their concern is longevity’
Flatiron’s OncologyCloud platform includes an analytics section, an EMR piece that comes courtesy of the company’s recent acquisition of Altos Solutions, a patient portal, and a billing portion. Together, the technologies provide what the company calls the world’s largest single source of structured real-world oncology data and intelligence. By enabling that data to be shared in HIPAA-compliant ways, Flatiron hopes it will accelerate personalized medicine and research.
The technology is now being used by between 1,500 and 2,000 clinicians and administrators at more than 200 cancer centers, Turner said.
With $138 million raised so far, the company clearly has clearly captured investors’ attention. Flatiron’s $130 million Series B is the fourth-largest round in which Google Ventures has participated and is its largest medical software deal to date. (The firm also participated in Flatiron’s Series A round.)
Google’s interest in a healthcare company is not that surprising. Last fall, it announced Calico, an effort focused on health and well-being, and its venture arm has investments in Foundation Medicine andDNAnexus. (Google Ventures did not respond to a request for comment.)
“Google’s concern is longevity,” said Skip Snow, a senior analyst for healthcare with Forrester Research. “They believe the relationship they want to have with healthcare is a longevity play—how do we help people live longer, healthier lives?”