Google Ventures leads $130m round in big data cancer treatment firm Flatiron Health

Google Ventures invests more into big data analytics technology that may help tip the scales in the war on cancer.

Google Ventures has led a $130m Series B round in Flatiron Health, a big data startup that herds cancer treatment records to offer practitioners a clearer view of patient needs.

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It's the second investment Google Ventures has made in Flatiron Health, which also drew existing investors First Round Capital and Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings in this round. The investment brings Flatiron's total funding to date to $138m.

Part of the new funding will go towards acquiring Altos Solutions, whose products, including its electronic medical record (EMR) system OncoEMR, are used by 1,300 oncology clinicians. The web-based software offers a workflow that helps clinicians document different aspects of cancer patient care. Collectively its clients see more than 550,000 unique cancer patients each year.

According to Flatiron, the union will create the world's largest pool of structured real-world oncology data. The pair plan to integrate Flatiron's OncologyCloud and Altos' OncoEMR to improve data capture, data flow and improved decision support.

Altos also provides a range of other analytics products for oncology providers that support billing and reimbursements as well as data sharing services between oncology practices via its Oncology Circle service.

Flatiron said it aims in the near future provide cancer care providers de-identified data from other cancer centres on its OncoAnalytics platform, broadening its current offer which only integrates different data sources within a cancer centre to provide real-time intelligence.

Flatiron Health's founders Nat Turner and Zach Weinberg launched the company in 2012, hoping to tack big data analytics to the growing number of electronic records being generated by practitioners and researchers. The pair had previously launched Invite Media, a bid manager platform for online ads, which Google's DoubleClick acquired in 2010.

"Cancer will likely touch all of us at some point in our lifetimes, either as a patient or as the family or friend of a patient. Flatiron has pioneered a way to learn much more about cancer, so that we can improve the way we care for patients and treat the disease," Dr Krishna Yeshwant, a general partner at Google Ventures, said in a statement.

"It's rare to find a team of the calibre assembled by Flatiron Health that combines pragmatic insights from the healthcare industry with the deep technical insight of the IT industry. They are working on one of the biggest problems in healthcare, and their progress has been nothing short of stunning to date."

According to the Wall Street Journal, the round is the fourth-largest investment Google Ventures has made to date and the largest it's made in medical software. Others include DNAnexus, and Foundation Medicine, both of which apply analytics to solving medical challenges. Flatiron's Turner told the WSJ that 500 to 1,000 oncologists use its data platform.

Andrew Conrad, director at Google[X], will also join Flatiron Health's board of directors. 

Terms of Altos deal were not been disclosed.

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