Bioinformatics upstart Intervention Insights secures $7.2M

As community oncologists tackle the challenge of matching their patients with a growing menu of targeted drugs, start-up Intervention Insights has landed $7.2 million in venture financing to advance the commercialization of an informatics platform designed to aid doctors in providing such personalized cancer care.

Grand Rapids, MI-based Intervention Insights, which hatched in 2009 with technology from the Van Ander Research Institute, raised the Series B funds from co-lead investors Beringea and Chrysalis Ventures as well as other backers such as Hopen Life Sciences and Michigan Accelerator Fund I. The plan is to analyze patients' tumor samples in a lab and then feed that information into the firm's bioinformatics platform, which identifies the right cancer drugs based on the molecular drivers of growth in a patient's tumor.

The initial market for the service and technology is community oncology practices, which now treat the majority of cancer patients in the U.S. but lack some of the genetic testing capabilities and organ-specific cancer specialists found at research hospitals such as Massachusetts General in Boston and MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. The company's technology, while potentially valuable in patient care first, could potentially give cancer drug developers a boost in recruiting patients for clinical trials.

How? There are often cancer patients treated in community practices who do not participate in clinical trials for reasons such as a lack of knowledge about the genetics of their tumors, information that could determine whether they are a good match for an experimental therapy. With companies like Intervention Insights and KEW Group in the Boston area making this information available electronically, it opens the door to incorporating data on existing clinical trials into a community oncologist's practice. 

This could help streamline the often lengthy and fractured process of recruiting patients for clinical trials. At least at KEW Group, which I interviewed this spring for Xconomy, there are plans to apply the firm's informatics platform to help community oncologists learn about clinical trials that are appropriate for their patients. Intervention Insights appears to be poised to offer oncologists similar visibility into available cancer trials.

- here's Beringea's release
- check out the news in Xconomy

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