Real-world evidence platform developer Aetion nabs Amgen-backed $36M series B

The passage of the 21st Century Cures Act spurred growing interest in the use of real-world data for drug development and regulatory processes. Venture capitalists have noticed that trend and are putting big money behind a company that develops software just for that practice.

Aetion, whose analytics platform helps biopharma companies and payers better understand how drugs work in the real world, just secured $36.4 million in series B funding. The round was led by New Enterprise Associates and counted Amgen Ventures among its investors.

Founded by two Harvard Medical School professors who have been analyzing real-world data and evidence for two decades, the company uses rapid-cycle analytics technology to generate evidence from all kinds of data in any format, including claims, electronic medical records, patient-reported outcomes and registry data, and randomized clinical trial data as well, Aetion CEO Carolyn Magill told FierceBiotech.

“This automated reporting technology allows users to reduce time to evidence from months to less than a day, the fastest turnaround time in the marketplace,” said Magill.

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The platform doesn’t require but can work with a common data model, which some industry watchers argue could support fast evidence generation and promote interoperability among stakeholders.

After organizing the data into longitudinal timelines, Aetion’s platform uses a measurement system that translates concepts like “patient has diabetes” into an implementation that’s appropriate for the underlying data, explained Magill. “This allows the most specific identification of patient conditions and takes greatest advantage of available real-world data,” she said. “No information need to be lost in translation to a CDM.”

Biopharma companies can involve the platform in different phases of the drug development and delivery process, according to Magill. It can help identify which subsets of population are most appropriate, evaluate safety issues, demonstrate the possibility of label expansions and discover which drug should be the first-line therapy. It also enables drugmakers to enter into outcomes-based contracting as it sheds light on what drugs work, for whom and under what conditions.

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Many CROs also provide real-world evidence services, but Magill sees Aetion’s relationship with them more as collaborators than competitors.

“Clinical research organizations benefit from the Aetion Evidence Platform’s speed and analytic flexibility for use cases such as identifying the most appropriate populations for clinical trials, creating regulatory submissions and supporting other RWD-based workstreams,” she said. “We look forward to engaging in partnerships with select CROs because we can help strengthen their value proposition.”

With this funding, Aetion has raised $50 million so far, and it plans to enhance its platform to support more complex therapeutic areas and expand its team of biopharma and pharmacy benefit design experts.