Roche, Genentech turn to PicnicHealth to tap multiple sclerosis patient data

Roche and its Genentech division have tapped San Francisco-based startup PicnicHealth to help aggregate patient medical records for use in their biomedical research.

PicnicHealth, which previously worked to give patients ownership of their medical data, launched its own research platform this week alongside the Big Pharma partnership designed to enable participants to contribute de-identified records and real-world data to scientific efforts.

Its collaboration with Roche and Genentech includes an initial, multiyear focus on multiple sclerosis and expands into Huntington’s disease and blood diseases paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria and hemophilia.

In MS, PicnicHealth aims to combine several years’ worth of prospective and retrospective data spanning 5,000 patients, including clinical outcomes and MRI images, to help explore the progression of the neurodegenerative disease and support the development of personalized treatments.

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“At PicnicHealth we are proud to work together with patients to unlock the important information from medical records that is usually stored in disparate and disorganized systems, and leveraging it to advance research,” said CEO Noga Leviner. 

To connect information from different platforms—with the goal of ingesting data from every site that has cared for a particular patient—PicnicHealth uses guided machine learning techniques to structure electronic medical records while linking them with patient-reported outcomes and other personal information.

“Our strategic partnership with PicnicHealth will allow us to better understand serious diseases and accelerate development of effective treatments tailored to the individual needs of patients,” said James Sabry, head of Roche Pharma Partnering. “By combining PicnicHealth’s uniquely built and curated real-world data sets with groundbreaking science we are aiming to make personalized healthcare a reality across multiple therapeutic areas.”