A new healthcare data company has emerged with promises to make patient data more useful for the discovery of new diagnostics and interventions.
That company is St. Louis, Missouri-based CuriMeta, which launched on Tuesday and announced the close of a $6 million seed funding round led by BJC HealthCare and the Washington University School of Medicine (WashU Medicine), which are also both based in St. Louis.
Davis Walp, CuriMeta’s founder and CEO, 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 its two institutional partners’ deep data resources to create greater research value for healthcare providers and life sciences manufacturers.
Most EHR data is optimized for care delivery, not research, Walp pointed out. CuriMeta steps in by cleansing, curating and annotating data on various disease states for its clients so that they can close their evidence cycles more quickly when developing new interventions. The company sells this data to pharma 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 a disease itself,” Walp said. “We’re creating 360-degree surround sound views of patient populations that researchers can use to really move the needle forward.”
CuriMeta is taking measures to ensure its data is secure, primarily through the use of artificial intelligence to create synthetic datasets. Synthetic data refers to computationally derived sets of data that are statistically identical to real patient datasets but housed in a separate and distinct place 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 the Institute for Informatics at WashU. He pointed out that as an academic health system, BJC would often be approached by life sciences or biotech companies that wanted access to its data and expertise to learn more about how diseases progress and how patients respond to certain treatments and interventions.
To Payne, this is not a particularly strategic research approach because BJC was simply reacting to opportunities presented to them instead of pursuing research projects of its own conception.
“By creating CuriMeta, what we’re really doing is creating a prospective and strategic approach to seeking out those partners that are working 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 having to do with critical disease areas in which BJC’s patient population sees a high burden, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer and neurodegeneration. Life sciences companies and other organizations seeking access to CuriMeta’s real-word data for their research projects must be approved by BJC and WashU Medicine to ensure 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 available to help inform and accelerate research in nearly every clinical area. Other companies aggregating and selling 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 datasets that tend to be very broad but not necessarily very deep. However, most of biomedicine’s driving problems will only be solved by novel diagnostics and therapeutics that require a much deeper analysis of data, he said.
“These solutions require multiscale data that includes not only data from the EHR, but also features that are extracted from imaging variants that we might discover through sequencing patients, not to mention other indicators that might help us to understand the impact of social determinants of health and disease,” Payne said. “We’re building a data platform that makes data that is deep and representative of diverse populations available for much needed research.”
Photo: metamorworks, Getty Images