Roche to buy Flatiron Health for $1.9B

Business executives shaking hands
Roche has agreed to buy Flatiron Health for $1.9 billion. (Getty/Martin Barraud)

One of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies has agreed to buy Flatiron Health, a health IT company founded by two former Google employees.

Switzerland-based Roche Group has agreed to pay $1.9 billion for the health IT company. The pharmaceutical and biotechnology company had already invested $200 million into Flatiron and owned 12.6% of the company.

The acquisition was first reported by CNBC and then confirmed in a joint announcement by the two companies.

FlatIron, which created an EHR specifically for oncology providers, also made a name for itself by using its platform to collect data that could be used for cancer research. That was a big draw for Roche, which emphasized the ability to use data to support its efforts to advance personalized medicine.

“We believe that regulatory-grade real-world evidence is a key ingredient to accelerate the development of, and access to, new cancer treatments,” Roche CEO Daniel O’Day said in a release. “As a leading technology company in oncology, Flatiron Health is best positioned to provide the technology and data analytics infrastructure needed not only for Roche, but for oncology research and development efforts across the entire industry.”

Flatiron was founded in 2012 by ex-Google employees Nat Turner and Zach Weinberg. Turner, who was featured on Forbes' “30 under 30” in 2015, will remain the company’s CEO. He told CNBC that the company will be an independent organization under the Roche umbrella.

The deal is expected to close by the end of the second quarter.