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Roche Buys Cancer Analytics Star Flatiron Health for $1.9B


The pharma giant likes the start-up's EHR and real-world evidence technologies and its big network of oncology providers.

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Image has been resized. Courtesy of Flatiron Health.

International healthcare and pharmaceutical giant Roche announced today that it will acquire analytics leader Flatiron Health, Inc., for $1.9 billion. The deal is expected to close before the beginning of Q3 2018.

Flatiron mines real-world evidence and electronic health records (EHR) data for oncology insights, allowing for treatment outcome predictions and the development of bundled payment programs.

Roche had already invested substantially in the company, leading a $175 million Series C round in 2016. It wasn’t the only major industry player to lend serious financial muscle to the New York City startup. In a Series B round led by GV (formerly Google Ventures) in 2014, it raised $130 million.

The brains behind the start-up, which opened its doors in 2012, said Roche’s investment was crucial to his company’s development.

“Roche has been a tremendous partner to us over the past 2 years and shares our vision for building a learning healthcare platform in oncology ultimately designed to improve the lives of cancer patients,” said Nat Turner, Flatiron Health co-founder and CEO. “This important milestone will allow us to increase our investments in our provider-facing technology and services platform, as well as our evidence-generation platform, which will remain available to the entire healthcare industry.”

The company has a large network of partners, from community oncology practices to large academic medical centers. It built an EHR-embedded solution to automate the quality measurement aspects of CMS’s Oncology Care Model, a value-based care initiative. The company helped about 50 of its clients participate in the program, representing about 30% of all participating practices. It has also collaborated with the FDA to inform the development of better clinical trials.

Roche’s CEO, Daniel O’Day, said Flatiron Health will continue to operate as an independent entity, providing analytics services to its existing clients and new ones. For the pharma company, the deal is all about targeted cancer treatments, he said.

“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,” O’Day said in a statement. “As a leading technology company in oncology, Flatiron Health is best positioned to provide the technology and data analytics infrastructure needed not only for Roche, but for oncology research and development efforts across the entire industry.”

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