Flatiron Health and Foundation Medicine have partnered to launch a clinico-genomic database that combines Foundation’s genomic profiling data with annotated longitudinal clinical and outcomes data developed by Flatiron from electronic health records.
The database, containing information on nearly 20,000 patients, is one of the largest and most comprehensive information efforts of its kind in oncology, according to the two companies.
New York-based Flatiron Health offers both oncology-focused EHRs as well as analytics platform used by life science companies and cancer centers. More than 250 cancer clinics and 10 of the top 12 life science companies are using Flatiron’s platforms. Cambridge, Mass.-based Foundation Medicine (NASDAQ:FMI) offers a full suite of comprehensive genomic profiling assays to identify the molecular alterations in a patient’s cancer and match them with relevant targeted therapies, immunotherapies and clinical trials.
The database includes de-identified linked clinical and genomic data from patients across a variety of tumor types allowing for a continuously updated, longitudinal view of a patient’s clinical, diagnostic and therapeutic journey. Flatiron said the database combines anonymized, HIPAA-compliant, research-grade patient data, including diagnosis, treatment and clinical outcomes captured through Flatiron’s EHR data collection platform. This data is matched with deep, highly validated molecular information, including genomic findings, variant interpretations and bio-informatic data, generated by Foundation’s platforms.
Making this data available as part of the clinical research process, will give researchers access to real-world information in designing the next generation of oncology therapeutics and clinical trials, ultimately paving the way for new and more precise therapies for cancer patients, the company said.
“This collaboration enables us to help researchers and life science companies use real-world evidence inclusive of detailed genomic information, patient and disease clinical characteristics, treatments received, and patient-level outcomes like disease progression, tumor response and mortality to identify patient populations with unmet needs and expedite plans for drug development and clinical trials,” said Amy Abernethy, M.D., Ph.D., chief medical and chief scientific officer for Flatiron Health, in a prepared statement.
Foundation Medicine and Flatiron stated that the clinic-genomic database is the first of several products they plan to co-develop using a comprehensive, HIPAA-compliant information platform. The two companies are exploring partnerships within the broader research and academic communities to accelerate utilization of this clinico-genomic database for novel drug development and clinical trial applications.
Earlier this year Healthcare Informatics interviewed Flatiron CEO Nat Turner, a former Google employee. With $8 million in seed funding from Google Ventures, Flatiron began helping cancer centers with analytics in 2012. One thing they found was that the clinicians didn’t like their EHR systems. “We became acutely aware that their EHRs were more than just a part of the problem; they were most of the problem,” said Turner. “The data being entered was really a byproduct of the EHRs being difficult to use. The bigger issue is that cancer care is so complex that the EHRs haven’t caught up to the level of complexity. In fact, it is getting more complex every day because of genomics and immunotherapy, and the EHRs are getting further behind.”
So a year into the development of its analytics package, and after signing up more than 20 cancer centers as customers, they chose to expand their mission to focus also on the day-to-day needs of clinicians. “We realized we needed to become the EHR or at least have an EHR option,” Turner said, which in 2014 led Flatiron to acquire the leading oncology EHR at the time, Altos Solutions.
“We acquired a great piece of technology, doubled the size of the company people-wise and quintupled the number of cancer centers we worked with,” he added.
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