Flatiron Health signs RWD partnership with Japanese cancer center to drive international expansion
Flatiron Health, a real-world data company focused on cancer research, has signed a partnership with Japan’s National Cancer Center Hospital East, marking a major milestone in the company’s international expansion.
Ironwhich was acquired by pharmaceutical giant Roche for nearly $2 billion in 2018, plans to work with the NCCHE to create an actual database of patients with gastrointestinal cancers.
This collaboration marks an important milestone for Flatiron as it lays the foundation for more real data partnerships with hospitals and healthcare networks in Asia and Europe.
The announcement also marks the opening of Flatiron’s Asian office with additional international locations to be announced in the coming months.
Founded by former Google employees Nat Turner and Zach Weinberg in 2012, Flatiron has built its business around oncology-focused EHR software and a repository of real cancer evidence. The company, which operates as an independent subsidiary of the Roche Group, now works with more than 280 community cancer centers and seven major academic cancer centers in the United States, as well as more than 20 of the world’s leading developers of oncology therapies.
Flatiron’s database contains more than 3 million patient records available for research, 75% of which are from community practices and 25% from academic cancer center data.
The company is strategically focused on growing its real-world evidence business for oncology research and development and recently hired former Veradigm executive Stephanie Reisinger as senior vice president and general manager of RWE to lead this unit.
“I’m truly proud of Flatiron’s accomplishments in our first decade. We were the first to maximize the use of real-world data from routine care and cancer care, which has led to extensions labels and dosage adjustments and a better understanding of safety profiles for cancer patients worldwide,” Carolyn Starrett, CEO of Flatiron, told Fierce Healthcare in an exclusive interview.
“I think that’s a really incredible track record to build on. What we’re doing now is starting to make long-term bets to shape the future of evidence generation,” Starrett said, who took the reins as the new CEO of Flatiron in March 2021. .
The company aims to incorporate additional real-world data from more sources, including medical claims, imaging data and social determinants of health data, Starrett said.
Through collaboration with the NCCHE in Japan, Flatiron will anonymize, pool and organize the experiences of approximately 2,000 gastrointestinal cancer patients to create datasets to support NCCHE research and treatment decisions. and for the use of other researchers and regulatory decision makers, Nathan Hubbard, vice president and chief business development officer of Flatiron International, told Fierce Healthcare.
The cancer center will also have access to datasets derived from Flatiron in the United States.
“There are 2 million cancer patients diagnosed every year and 750,000 of them, unfortunately, still lose their cancer battle every year,” she said, referring to the number of cancer patients. cancer in Japan, Germany and the UK. “There are so many more patients to learn in the countries where we are expanding our business,” Starrett said.
Flatiron extends its reach through Flatiron International subsidiaries in Japan, Germany and the UK to partner with hospitals and healthcare networks in RWD collaborations. These curated datasets will be available to these hospitals and, under license, to biopharmaceutical companies to accelerate cancer research, according to the company.
“I think there is enormous potential to expand the application and use of real-world evidence in regulatory decision-making, in the design of clinical trials, and in understanding the availability of important treatments. And for understand what are the right treatments for patients in an increasingly complex oncology landscape,” she said.
As part of its international expansion strategy, the company is focusing on countries engaged in cutting-edge research, which have widely deployed electronic medical record systems, have expressed receptivity to real-world data and have large populations. of cancer patients, Hubbard said.
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“These three countries [Japan, Germany and the U.K.] have risen to the top of the list of places that have reached that sweet spot for us,” he said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated demand and interest in real-world evidence, Starrett said, noting that she believes RWE will become a central strategy for biopharmaceutical companies and drug developers going forward.
“COVID has proven that it is not enough to use the strategies we have historically used. We need to use more of the data available across the spectrum of care and use it faster to find faster and better solutions,” said she noted.
According to Starrett, most of what the industry knows about which drugs work for which cancer patients comes from the relatively few patients who enroll in clinical trials.
“It is not enough to only source clinical trials from large research centers where the patient population we learn from tends to be more affluent, more educated, with fewer comorbidities and in better health than the broader population. who will need to benefit from these drugs and therapies,” she said. “We believe the opportunity and the role that Flatiron can play is to create access to a much larger patient population and enable sites that we work with around the world to open these trials, find patients and manage them much more efficiently. .”