Roche's Big Week Continues With Syapse Partnership

Jack Murtha

The pharma company and the precision medicine start-up are chasing better cancer care.

Images courtesy of Roche and Syapse.

Roche is on a roll. This week alone, the pharma company has announced 2 tech-centric partnerships geared toward evolving the strength and role of precision medicine, particularly in oncology.

Unveiled yesterday, the latest move is a multiyear “strategic collaboration” with Syapse, an analytics-heavy start-up that specializes in personalized cancer care. The partners plan to develop software and analytics solutions that “empower healthcare providers with the tools and insights they need to practice precision medicine at scale, with the goal of improving patient outcomes and health-related quality of life,” according to Syapse.

“Roche and Syapse share a common vision of ensuring widespread access to precision medicine so we can dramatically improve patient care,” Daniel O’Day, CEO of Roche Pharmaceuticals, said in a statement. “This collaboration supports that vision.”

Roche will put down the money to develop the products, and Syapse will create and distribute the technologies to the “precision medicine ecosystem,” starting with its network of healthcare providers. Syapse intends to build on its Syapse Platform.

To kick things off, the duo will focus on developing 4 initiatives, including a learning health system that uses real-world evidence to foster better care decisions; increasing understanding of precision’s medicine’s economics and patient outcomes to boost value-based cancer care; better gauging precision medicine’s ability to promote quality of life by enhancing electronic patient-reported outcomes; and speeding up clinical trial enrollment by identifying eligible patients at the point of care. What’s more, the companies aim to establish automated methods to measure outcomes.

The solutions will be designed to aid oncologists, their teams, health systems, and other stakeholders, like payers.

“Precision medicine is already improving cancer care, and Syapse is empowering healthcare providers with the tools they need to deliver the best possible care,” Ken Tarkoff, CEO of Syapse, said in a statement. “By working together, Syapse and Roche can make this vision of precision medicine a reality faster than either of us could alone.”

The marriage extends an already cozy relationship. Last fall, Roche’s investment arm joined several other venture capitalists in contributing to Syapse’s $30 million Series D financing round. At the time, healthcare heavyweights praised the up-and-comer’s oncology platform as a means to broadening access to community oncologists.

During the project’s life, Roche and Syapse hope to “explore additional areas of collaboration with the potential to bring precision medicine and improve care for more patients,” according to the announcement.

The union has earned the approval of other industry leaders. Damon Hostin, who heads the Precision Medicine Alliance, said customized care will boost efficiency and care across the nation. “Partnerships like this bring together critical components of the healthcare ecosystem to help make precision medicine a reality,” the CEO said of the Roche and Syapse deal.