GNS Healthcare's AI patient-matching platform nets $23M from Cigna Ventures, Amgen, Celgene

In Silico
GNS Healthcare aims to reverse engineer data to find the mechanisms behind disease in an in silico patient model, to help providers match patients to the most effective drugs, procedures and interventions. (Pixabay / Geralt)

GNS Healthcare raised $23 million from the venture capital arms of drugmakers and health insurance companies to build out its artificial-intelligence-driven precision medicine platform.

The company’s series D round was lead by Cigna Ventures and included additional backing from Amgen Ventures, Celgene, Echo Health Ventures and Alexandria Venture Investments as well as an investment from Gary Loveman, who previously served as president of Aetna’s consumer health division.

By analyzing and reverse engineering data to find the causal mechanisms behind different trends and points—alongside the creation of an in silico patient model—GNS aims to make it easier for healthcare providers to match individuals to the most effective drugs, procedures and interventions.

“I feel like we’re starting to get beyond the hope and hype of AI and machine learning in general,” Colin Hill, GNS’ co-founder, chairman and CEO, told FierceMedTech in an interview earlier this year. “The value creation, the specific-use cases, the specific data streams to power it up—they’re all now just taking hold in the eyes of our customers and the marketplace.” 

In addition, the demand for data-driven insight is reaching a critical mass on both the payer side and the biopharma side, Hill said, while the data themselves have reached a density and quality sufficient enough to enable fully in silico clinical trials and drug evaluation. 

“Even back when this was called bioinformatics—or systems biology, or big data, or machine learning—the goal was always to try to reconstruct human life and human disease on the computer, gene-by-gene, to determine what works for whom,” he said.

Health insurance giant Cigna, for example, hopes to tap GNS’ personalized medicine platform to improve its bottom line as well as the health of its customers by making sure patients are treated with the most-effective interventions at the first opportunity.  

“GNS aligns with our vision and together we can super-charge our advanced analytics capabilities and provide even deeper, more predictable insights that will further enhance customer access to the highest quality treatment and care, in the preferred and appropriate place, at the right time,” said Tom Richards, Cigna’s global lead for strategy and business development.

And going forward, Hill believes more of the evidence used to determine those courses of treatment will be generated in the real world, as data sets have improved. 

“When we started the company almost 20 years ago, there wasn't the data, and there wasn't the computing power,” Hill said. “Now the pieces are here … Fast-forward 18 years, and it’s starting to produce some real wows.”