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Roche Caps Purchase of Flatiron Health, Upping Its Data Game


What the pharma giant saw in the oncology analytics whiz kid.

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It’s official: Roche now owns Flatiron Health. The major-league pharma and diagnostics company bought the cancer analytics up-and-comer for a total of $1.9 billion, in a deal that Roche expects to expand its trove of real-world data.

“As oncology leaders in their respective fields,” Roche wrote in a press release, “the acquisition allows both companies to accelerate progress towards data-driven personalized healthcare in cancer.”

Based in New York City, Flatiron Health belongs to a breed of data-to-insights healthcare start-ups that has swarmed across the industry in recent years, forcing wider data collection efforts, the practical use of artificial intelligence, and an emphasis on actionable insights. Oncology, it seems, has emerged as a proving ground for this sort of operation, but companies in the space have repeated their intentions to eventually broaden their scope.

>> Read: Flatiron Executive on the Biggest Challenges in Healthcare Data and Analytics

Flatiron, specifically, has its hands in electronic medical record software for oncology and the “curation and development of real-world evidence for cancer research,” Roche said. Healthcare observers have noted that Flatiron’s data savvy could help the pharma organization in a number of ways, namely through more efficient and effective clinical trials. The start-up has also built a sprawling network of top-tier partners.

Under the terms of the deal with Roche, Flatiron Health will remain its own legal entity, according to the announcement. It will also maintain its “current business model, network of partnerships, and overall objectives,” along with its dedicated business units.

Roche committed to preserving “the integrity of segregated patient protected health information,” according to the release.

News of the Roche-Flatiron deal broke in mid-February, with the expectation that the acquisition would close prior to the third quarter of 2018. At the time, executives for both organizations praised the move as a leap forward for their businesses and personalized medicine.

Roche had previously invested in Flatiron.

“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,” Flatiron’s co-founder and CEO, Nat Turner, said when the deal was first unveiled.

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