PatientsLikeMe taps AstraZeneca, Roche for cash to fuse outcomes, clinical and molecular data

PatientsLikeMe CEO Martin Coulter

AstraZeneca ($AZN) and Roche's ($RHHBY) Genentech have agreed to bankroll a study of lung cancer patients that will analyze PatientsLikeMe's patient-reported outcomes alongside traditional forms of data. The project is designed to assess the value of giving researchers a broader overview of factors that can affect health outcomes.

PatientsLikeMe has teamed up with informatics player M2Gen to run the initiative, the first phase of which will entail analyzing data from lung cancer patients. AstraZeneca and Roche are providing the money for the study, while PatientsLikeMe is contributing outcomes data reported by its community of patients. The other contributor to the project is M2Gen, a research subsidiary of Moffitt Cancer Center that has access to molecular and clinical data shared by patients enrolled in the Total Cancer Care program.

The partners will analyze M2Gen's molecular and clinical data alongside information contributed by members of PatientsLikeMe. The expectation is that combining the data will yield insights would be impossible to uncover in any of the datasets in isolation. "We want to ensure we're giving patients access to all of the information needed to help guide their care decisions," PatientsLikeMe CEO Martin Coulter said in a statement. "By integrating data from multiple sources, we'll be able to get, and give, a more comprehensive picture of disease and patients' experience managing it."

For PatientsLikeMe, the project opens up another way to use the outcomes reported by members of its community. In trying to make use of the data--and build a business upon them--PatientsLikeMe has courted drugmakers. AstraZeneca and Genentech are among the companies that have been impressed enough by the potential of PatientsLikeMe and its community to put pen to paper. Both have signed 5-year deals with PatientsLikeMe. Genentech was the first to commit in 2014, giving PatientsLikeMe its initial broad research collaboration with a drugmaker.

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