There’s a severe evidence gap in healthcare treatment guidelines. Clinical trials shape most care guidelines and payer decisions, yet they exclude about 70% of the U.S. population, according to Brigham Hyde, co-founder and CEO of Atropos Health. He pointed out that this dynamic is even more pronounced for patients with chronic comorbidities or those who belong to rare groups, such as children or people with rare diseases.
Hyde’s startup got closer to its mission of addressing that evidence gap last week when it announced the close of a $14 million Series A funding round. Breyer Capital led the round with participation from Emerson Collective and Boston Millennia Partners.
Atropos Health provides physicians with real-world evidence at the point of care to help them make more informed decisions when treating their patients. The idea for the company came from Nigam Shah, a biomedical informatics professor at Stanford University.
Stanford Health Care physicians used to send consistent requests to Shah asking him to glean insights from EMR data and answer their questions on how to best treat patients. So, he built what he called “the green button service,” a tool that analyzed Stanford’s EMR data and delivered a consultation report back to physicians. Shah ran the service at Stanford for about 18 months before the university reached out to Hyde — who most recently served as an executive at life sciences firm Eversana — to help spin it out as a new company in 2020.
Shah and Hyde — along with their other co-founder Saurabh Gombar, a Stanford researcher and physician — founded Atropos Health with the goal that physicians would one day have to extrapolate less. Instead of frequently relying on informed guesses, they wanted physicians to gain rapid access to evidence about which treatments work for certain patients.
Atropos’ technology produces a report called a prognostogram, which Hyde called a “full boat, publication-grade observational research study on deidentified EMR patients, including the use of high dimensional propensity score matching for statistical error correction.” These prognostrograms meet physicians at the point of care, which is important because they often have patients in their offices whose follow-ups are scheduled in a day or two.
Speed and ease are top of mind for Atropos’ developers. In terms of input, all the company requires physicians to enter is a couple sentences about their patient’s situation, similar to an email they might send to a colleague.
The startup charges its customers for a platform subscription and installs its technology into their EMR datasets. The startup also charges for its prognostograms, which could be on a volume or headcount user basis. The services are reimbursable, though — Hyde said physicians can get reimbursed for ordering reports and Atropos can get paid for delivering them.
Atropos is currently selling its services to academic medical centers. Half a dozen institutions are using them, and the company serves about 10,000 physicians, according to Hyde.
In May, the startup signed a partnership with ASCO CancerLinQ, which gathers EMR data from oncology practices throughout the country. The partnership not only gives Atropos access to ASCO’s wealth of oncology data to help the company answer specific cancer treatment questions, but also access to all of CancerLinQ’s membership. Hyde said this means more than 150 community oncology practices can now order prognostograms.
Atropos will use some of the funds it received in its Series A financing to further develop the oncology consult product it is building with ASCO. It will also use the money to grow its commercial team.
As the startup continues to grow, Hyde said it focuses on building a service that not only helps physicians make better decisions, but also leads to better treatment outcomes for patients. He said this mission speaks to the startup’s name — Atropos is one of the three Moirai in Greek mythology, goddesses who assigned people their fate. He said the company’s main goal is to create a sunnier fates for patients.
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