Cota Health, an oncology-focused data curation and big data analytics platform, today raised $10 million in the form of a convertible loan from Varian Medical Technology. Under the agreement, Varian will offer its customers access to Cota’s services and Cota will help Varian aggregate real-world evidence into a knowledge base for creating decision support and other tools.
The U.S. 21st Century Cures Act took effect on October 1. Signed into law in December 2016, the legislation requires care providers to let patients access their health information. But opening up electronic health records doesn’t make the data within them standardized. And some experts estimate that as many as half of records are mismatched when data is transferred between health care systems.
Cota, which specifically focuses on cancer care, hopes to organize the fragmented, often hidden data emerging from ongoing clinical trials. Using its tools, administrators can gain access to clinical metrics and reporting and view clinically similar patient cohorts side by side to understand differences in care and outcomes. They also gain insights into variations in care delivery to help compare the consistency of care among physicians and across locations. Using Cota, they can also track oncology care standards, with the option to create custom metrics for individual institutions.
Cota’s providers, payers, and life sciences clients get a curated database of de-identified patient data across 14 cancer types, with expansion to five additional cancer types by the end of the year. (The company says it captures demographic, pathologic, genomic, treatment, and outcome records from multiple provider sources across the U.S., including both academic and community cancer programs.) Partners can leverage the individual datasets on an ad-hoc basis or explore broader access as a member of the company’s newly formed Cota Research Consortium, a cooperative network of National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers. As a member of the Research Consortium, centers can collaborate to develop research protocols that accelerate drug development.
On the insurer side, Cota leverages its data to design models that “advance collaboration with oncology provider partners.” It also provides data analysis and visualization tools to let customers look at performance and outcomes across sites, service lines, and individual providers so carriers can evaluate inconsistencies and take action if necessary. Cota claims its current network spans hundreds of providers and life science users across the country.
In 2017, Cota Health inked agreements with Miami Cancer Institute and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and entered a collaboration with Hackensack Meridian Health and IBM Watson Health to develop value-based cancer treatment bundles. Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration extended its research collaboration agreement with Cota by an additional three years to study the effects of COVID-19 on cancer care.
“Cota has been able to leverage its knowledge of real-world evidence applications and learnings in order to participate in the COVID-19 Evidence Accelerator program, a joint initiative of Friends of Cancer Research and the Reagan-Udall Foundation for the FDA,” the company told VentureBeat via email. “Through this initiative, Cota is delivering findings from its observational, real-world studies using data from over 3,000 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 within the Hackensack Meridian Health network.”
With the infusion of capital from Varian, Cota has raised a total of $75 million, $20 million of which is from Varian. Cota says it has 70 U.S. employees, with 150 additional offshore clinical staffing resources, and it plans to double that headcount within a year.