Verana Health Inks Deal with Pharma Giant Janssen to Accelerate Research in Ophthalmology, Urology

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Verana is a Rosenman/MedTech Venture Partners portfolio company.


From the story at Fierce Healthcare.

Verana Health has inked a research collaboration agreement with Janssen’s research and development arm to focus on curating real-world data and driving data science to advance treatments in ophthalmology and urology.

The San Francisco-based company curates and analyzes real-world clinical data to advance medical research and patient care.

Through the agreement, Verana Health will provide data-driven support to enable a deeper understanding of new disease areas of interest, inform study design and enhance the execution of clinical trials, the company said Wednesday.

The startup—which is backed by GV, formerly known as Google Ventures—partners with medical associations to analyze large data sets of de-identified patient data in eye diseases, neurology and urology. This information can accelerate the development of drugs, medical devices and new treatments, according to the company.

By generating real-world evidence in the retinal and broader ophthalmology space through the American Academy of Ophthalmology IRIS Registry (Intelligent Research in Sight), Verana Health aims to contribute to the development of new ophthalmic therapies and treatments. Verana Health will analyze real-world data to characterize baseline patient attributes, disease progression and treatment-based outcomes for patients being treated for diabetic macular edema, a complication of diabetes that impacts 750,000 Americans and may lead to severe vision loss. Currently, real-world evidence on this population of patients—including treatment patterns and outcomes—is limited.

In urology, the research collaboration with Janssen will focus on early-stage prostate cancer. The first phase of this pilot will support curating and evaluating de-identified data from a small subset of patients in the American Urological Association quality registry.

“We are incredibly excited to collaborate with Janssen R&D to support innovation in ophthalmology and urology,” said Hylton Kalvaria, senior vice president for commercial and strategic partnerships at Verana Health. “Characterizing early-stage prostate cancer has become increasingly important to improve patient outcomes. The ability to characterize early-stage urologic cancers is missing from many oncology databases, so we hope that Verana Health’s ability to fill this void can help thousands of men diagnosed with prostate cancer every year.”

Previously known as teleophthalmology company DigiSight Technologies, Verana Health pivoted in 2018 to focus on data analytics.

Major investors are betting big money on the application of real-world data in clinical practice and drug development.

Two years ago, the company landed a $30 million series C financing round led by GV with participation from investors including Byers, Biomatics Capital, GE Ventures and Lagunita Biosciences.

In February 2020, the startup scored a $100 million funding round, also led by GV, with participation from new investors Bain Capital Ventures, Casdin Capital and Define Ventures.

Verana also bought data analytics company PYA Analytics last year.

Verana Health’s platform started with eye care, incorporating electronic health record data from the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s IRIS patient registry—which features more than 72 million unique patients in its database, 343 million visits and billions of data points—to improve ophthalmic patient care.

In 2019, Verana Health expanded into neurology through an agreement with the American Academy of Neurology (AAN). AAN’s data registry holds clinical data from 2.5 million unique patients and 13 million patient visits. Last year, the company inked a similar partnership with the American Urological Association to mine de-identified data from the organization’s clinical data registry, which has data on more than 6.3 million unique patients and 37.8 million visits, including 10% of the nation’s prostate cancer patients.