Saama raises $35M to fuel push into life science data analytics

After being in business for 18 years and growing its headcount toward 700, Saama Technologies has decided now is the time to do a Series A round. The analytics specialist has raised $35 million from Carrick Capital Partners to bankroll development of industry-specific tools for life sciences and other sectors.

Silicon Valley, CA-based Saama has a track record of working with Actelion, Novartis ($NVS) and other life science companies and is now stepping up its interest in the industry. Life sciences is one of a handful of industries on which Saama will focus its newly inflated bank balance. The plan is to create prepackaged offerings that build on Saama's existing Fluid Analytics Engine to help firms in life sciences, healthcare and a few other industries make sense of their growing pools of data.

"Many organizations have invested heavily in Big Data infrastructure. How do they get results out of this? We're focused on the last-mile effort, on business outcomes," Saama founder and CEO Suresh Katta told Fortune. Saama already has a clutch of life science-focused offerings, including tools to analyze real-world evidence and track the performance of clinical trial sites. Now, it has the cash and inclination to expand its suite of tools.

The push will necessitate a hiring surge. ANI reports Saama plans to pour money into its operation in India to finance the hiring of 500 staff, a figure that represents close to a doubling of the firm's current headcount. Such rapid deployment of capital and initiation of the expansion plan is vital if Saama is to maintain what it perceives to be its big advantage in the increasingly crowded data analytics sector, namely an 18- to 24-month head start over some of its rivals.

- read the release
- here's Fortune's article
- check out ANI's piece
- and the WSJ's take