Swiss pharma giant Roche buys Flatiron Health for $1.9bn

16 Feb 2018423 Views

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View of the Rhine River with the illuminated Roche Tower in Basel, Switzerland. Image: Basel001/Shutterstock

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Flatiron Health, which analyses real-time oncology data to help cancer patients, is snapped up by Roche.

Switzerland-headquartered biopharma player Roche is to acquire New York start-up Flatiron Health in a $1.9bn deal.

Founded by ex-Google employees Nat Turner and Zach Weinberg, Flatiron Health has developed an electronic health record (EHR) that is used by physicians treating cancer to analyse data and come up with more effective treatments.

‘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’
– NAT TURNER

Flatiron Health has raised more than $300m from investors, including Roche, and Alphabet’s venture arm GV.

Prior to the acquisition, Roche had invested around $175m in Flatiron Health, valuing it at $1.2bn two years ago. Roche had an existing equity stake of 12.6pc in the company.

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2018.

“This is an important step in our personalised healthcare strategy for Roche, as we believe that regulatory-grade, real-world evidence is a key ingredient to accelerate the development of, and access to, new cancer treatments,” explained Daniel O’Day, CEO of Roche Pharmaceuticals.

“As a leading technology company in oncology, Flatiron Health is best positioned to provide the technology and data analytics infrastructure needed not only for Roche, but for oncology research and development efforts across the entire industry. A key principle of this is to preserve Flatiron’s autonomy and their ability to continue providing their services to all existing and future partners.”

A vision for the future of cancer treatment

As well as the EHR software, Flatiron Health also curates and develops real-world evidence for cancer research.

With its large network of community oncology practices and academic medical centres across the US, Flatiron Health has created a technology platform designed to learn from the experience of every patient.

It has also developed a suite of software products that uniquely positions the company to advance the use of real-world evidence at the point of care.

“Roche has been a tremendous partner to us over the past two years and shares our vision for building a learning healthcare platform in oncology ultimately designed to improve the lives of cancer patients,” said Turner, who is also CEO at Flatiron Health.

“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.”

View of the Rhine River with the illuminated Roche Tower in Basel, Switzerland. Image: Basel001/Shutterstock

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com