A new health data company has emerged with promises to make patient data more useful for discovering new diagnoses and interventions.
This company is based in St. Louis, Missouri CuriMetawhich launched on Tuesday and announced the closing of a $6 million seed round led by BJC HealthCare and on Washington University School of Medicine (WashU Medicine)who are also based in St. Louis.
Davis Wolpe, founder and CEO of CuriMeta, said in an interview that he and his team have spent the past two years collaborating with BJC and WashU Medicine to incubate the business. The company’s mission is to leverage the deep data resources of its two institutional partners to create greater research value for healthcare providers and life science manufacturers.
Most EHR data is optimized for care delivery, not research, Walp pointed out. CuriMeta intervenes by cleaning, curating and annotating data on various disease states for its clients so that they can close their evidence loops faster when developing new interventions. The company sells this data to pharmaceutical and device companies.
“We are creating advanced real-world data because we want to provide researchers with a much more complete and comprehensive view of human biology and the impact that treatments have on groups of patients and on the nature of the disease itself,” Wolpe said. “We’re creating a 360-degree surround sound view of patient populations that researchers can use to really move the needle forward.”
CuriMeta takes measures to ensure that its data is protected, primarily through the use of artificial intelligence to create synthetic datasets. Synthetic data refers to computationally derived data sets that are statistically identical to real patient data sets, but are stored in a separate and distinct location to minimize the risk of data breaches.
Through CuriMeta, BJC and WashU Medicine can transform their research approach from reactive to proactive, said Philip Payne, founding director of WashU’s Informatics Institute. He pointed out that as an academic health system, BJC will often be approached by life sciences or biotech companies that want access to its data and expertise to learn more about how diseases progress and how patients respond to certain treatments and interventions.
For Payne, this is not a particularly strategic research approach because the BJC is simply responding to the opportunities presented to them rather than pursuing research projects of its own design.
“In creating CuriMeta, what we are really doing is creating a forward-looking and strategic approach to seek out those partners who work in areas that are best aligned with our needs in terms of our patient populations, expertise and data resources Payne said.
CuriMeta will focus on data related to critical disease areas where BJC patients see a high burden, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and neurodegeneration. Life science companies and other organizations seeking access to real-world CuriMeta data for their research projects must be approved by BJC and WashU Medicine to ensure that their research focuses on unmet medical needs that are important to their patients.
Walp said CuriMeta’s close relationship with BJC and WashU Medicine helps differentiate the company from other firms that sell real-world health data. He pointed out that the two organizations have thousands of experts to help inform and accelerate research in almost every clinical area. Other companies that collect and sell real-world data and analytics include Aetion, Syapse, Tempus and Komodo Health.
Payne added that many real-world health data companies provide large-scale, highly curated data sets that are typically very broad but not necessarily very deep. However, most of biomedicine’s problems will only be solved by new diagnostics and therapies, which require much deeper data analysis, he said.
“These solutions require multi-scale data that includes not only EHR data but also features derived from imaging variants that we can detect through patient sequencing, not to mention other indicators that can help us understand the impact of the social determinants of health and disease,” Payne said. “We are building a data platform that makes data that is deep and representative of diverse populations available for much-needed research.”
Photo: metamorworks, Getty Images