Healthcare data company Aetion raises $19 million

Steven Loeb · August 26, 2020 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/50c8

The company provies real-world data to help organizations make better clinical decisions

One of the major problems in all healthcare systems is knowing which treatments work best for which patient, and who should pay for them. That lack of knowledge results in longer treatment times, it increases the cost of care, and it leads to worse outcomes. Now that we're in the middle of a pandemic, all of those problems are becoming even worse. 

Aetion uses real-world evidence (RWE) to solve these issues, providing biopharma companies, payers, and regulatory agencies with data to help them make decisions on the safety and effectiveness of treatments. 

"People over the age of 65, women of childbearing age, and children are often excluded from clinical trials; add the fact that it’s simply not feasible to test drugs on patients with every combination of chronic illness. What ends up happening? Drugs get approved, and it’s not until they are out in the market that we realize a given medication works best for a specific patient cohort, or that a drug actually is appropriate in treating more than what the label suggests," Carolyn Magill, CEO of Aetion, explained to me.

"Aetion has built a platform specifically for the purpose of using science to address this problem and opportunity."

On Wednesday, the company announced a $19 million extension to its Series B funding round from new investors Johnson & Johnson Innovation, EDBI and Greenspring Associates, bringing its Series B round to $82 million. With this latest funding, Aetion has now raised $94 million in total. 

Aetion's existing investors include NEA, Flare Capital, Lakestar, Sanofi, McKesson Ventures, Amgen Ventures, UCB, and Horizon Health Services.

Launched in 2015, the Aetion Evidence Platform takes data from sources such as electronic health records, lab tests and insurance claims, and uses it to provide evidence about the safety, effectiveness, and value of clinical treatments. Its customers include the majority of top global biopharma companies and payers, including Amgen, Sanofi, JJDC, UCB, and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield.

For example, the company's biopharma clients license Aetion’s platform to support insights across a drug's entire lifecycle.

"They’re increasingly incorporating RWE into their clinical development programs to run external control arms and prepare regulatory submissions, and in the post-market setting they frequently use RWE to meet safety requirements and to engage with payers in value-based contracting," said Magill.

Meanwhile, payers and at-risk providers work with Aetion to better understand how medications work with their enrolled members and to determine which treatments work best to treat their high-risk members.

"We also serve as a bridge between payers and biopharma companies as they engage in managed care contracting, providing science-based methodology and evidence to support more meaningful alignment about the impact of medications on specific populations." 

Responding to COVID

Aetion is now also being used by international regulatory bodies in order to their advance their understanding of COVID-19, including getting insights into the history of the disease, patient populations and their medication use, in order to better identify risk factors.

Customer include the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which selected Aetion for a research collaboration in May, and the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review.

Aetion has also developed some tools of its own: along with data partner HealthVerity, the company launched Real Time Insights and Evidence, a system designed for biopharma manufacturers and regulators to assess treatment approaches for COVID-19. The platform is meant to help its customers get insights that can help them accelerate approvals and access, while also still making sure that the drugs are safe and effective.

"The uncertainty of COVID-19 brings urgency to advancing our understanding of which treatments, diagnostics, and vaccines work, and for which patients. Given the need for biopharma companies, regulators, and HTAs to quickly understand the disease, real-world evidence can provide a valuable complement to traditional clinical studies. Regulatory-grade real-world data and evidence can accelerate approvals and help fulfill postmarking requirements," said Magill.

"We are also honored to engage in the important work of the COVID-19 Evidence Accelerator, an initiative launched by the Reagan-Udall Foundation for the FDA in collaboration with Friends of Cancer Research. The collaboration is aimed at discovery and learning among many different entities joined in advancing COVID-19 evidence."

Funding use

The new funding that Aetion has raised will go toward expanding the capabilities of the Aetion Evidence Platform, while also "bringing new relationships and perspectives to Aetion’s unique community of partners."

"We look forward to investing further in expanding our global footprint as we build our customer, data partner, and regulatory relationships and work to help advance real-world evidence standards in the region," said McGill.

"Aetion provides unparalleled RWE expertise, methodological tools, and a platform to help our customers make the most informed decisions every step of the way. We will continue to focus on establishing global standards for transforming data into the evidence we need to make it clear which health treatments work, for whom, and how much we should pay for them." 

This funding comes as the healthtech space has been advancing significantly in recent years; to wit, nearly half of all FDA drug approvals last year were based on submissions that included real-world data.

"This progress is only possible with increased data accessibility and advancements in scientific methodology to assess those data. We expect to see drugs approved, covered, and priced based on known impact across real-world settings and diverse populations," said McGill.

The goal at Aetion is to better understand which health treatments work, for which patient, and how much they should cost.

"Ultimately, we at Aetion aspire to use science in the pursuit of that aspiration, creating a technology asset that our customers can integrate into their unique environments and being a trusted thought partner on how to find and assess fit-for-purpose data for health care’s most consequential decisions."

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