Two big movers in the health world just launched a massive new project to change the way we look at cancer

Flatiron Health
Zach Weinberg, left, and Nat Turner, the founders of Flatiron Health. Saskia Uppenkamp

Two cancer companies that were backed by Google Ventures — now called GV — have teamed up for the second time to launch a health database filled with information from 200,000 people.

Flatiron Health, a New York-based healthcare technology startup, collects clinical data from cancer patients — such as what medications the patient has taken and how she’s responded to them. Foundation Medicine, on the other hand, collects genetic data from samples of cancer tissue or blood. The “clinico-genomic database” launched on Thursday links the two for the first time.

The goal? A database that combines the genes underlying a patient’s tumour with the rest of that patient’s treatment plan, so drug companies and researchers can learn how best to beat the disease.

Flatiron and Foundation Medicine have a lot of the same backers: Roche currently owns a majority stake in publicly-traded Foundation Medicine, and in January, Flatiron Health raised $175 million in its latest funding round, led by drug company Roche. Its current valuation is $1.2 billion.

The two first joined forces back in 2014. Amy Abernethy, Flatiron’s chief medical officer, told Business Insider that this was the next step in the partnership.

“Cancer research has tried to push forward genomics and clinical data,” she said, citing multiple myeloma as type of cancer where this is already happening. “This clinico-genomics database serves that urgency.”

On Wednesday, Foundation Medicine reported a loss in the third quarter, missing Wall Street’s expectations.

“Foundation Medicine and Flatiron together are uniquely positioned to accomplish what many others in oncology are trying to achieve, namely, delivering a highly validated lens into rich longitudinal data and analysis to advance therapeutic development and expedite availability of novel anti-cancer therapeutics,” Foundation Steve Kafka said in a release. “Given this, we expect strong demand for this unique data set that is poised to accelerate therapeutic drug development.”

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