A cancer startup just raised millions from a pharmaceutical giant, and it could be where the industry is headed

Flatiron health co-founders, Nat Turner, Zach Weinberg, coolest hottest scientists
Flatiron Health co-founders Nat Turner and Zach Weinberg. YouTube and LinkedIn

A cancer startup just raised millions in a funding round led by a pharmaceutical giant.

That could be the sign of bigger things to come.

While cloud-based cancer software startup Flatiron Health raised $175 million in its latest funding round, led by drug company Roche, tech and health collaborations have been abounding elsewhere as well.

Ageing, disease, and robots

In 2014, biopharmaceutical company AbbVie partnered with Google (now Alphabet) and founded Calico to researchers age-related diseases. Late last year, Alphabet’s newly renamed Verily recently partnered with Johnson and Johnson to make smaller, cheaper robots. And in January 2015, Genentech (which is owned by Roche) made a $60-million partnership with genetic testing company 23andMe to study Parkinson’s.

Also last year, Roche struck a deal with biotech company Foundation Health at $1.03 billion, giving Roche a majority stake in the company that was also backed by Google and Bill Gates. Foundation Health runs genetic tests to determine the best cancer treatment for patients.

How drug companies might use these partnerships to their advantage

A quick scan of Roche’s pipeline shows 34 drugs in development that have never been approved (also known as new molecular entities). Flatiron Health’s software analyses cancer treatment results, which can help health care providers who subscribe to the service find the best ways to attack the disease. Flatiron Health said in a release that it will work with Roche to speed up clinical trials for new cancer treatments.

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