CuriMeta, a new real-world health data company, launched in collaboration with Missouri’s BJC Healthcare and Washington University School of Medicine (WashU Medicine).
The startup also announced $6 million in seed funding, led by its two founding collaborators. CuriMeta aims to improve precision medicine and accelerate medical research of complex diseases by sorting and analyzing dense clinical data. By providing curated data sets, the trio hopes to enable life science organizations to bring new therapeutics and devices to market faster.
BJC Healthcare and WashU Medicine will contribute data resources and research expertise, and the trio will jointly identify research projects and potential other collaborators. Their primary focus areas will include oncology, cardiology and neurology.
Future data contributors might include health systems, academic medical centers, life science manufacturers and clinical research organizations. Partners will know when and how the data they share are being used, CuriMeta said in a press release, and patient privacy will be maintained using advanced AI such as synthetic data.
"Increasingly complex therapies require deeper evidence and the demonstration of higher levels of clinical value and impact in order to receive acceptance and adoption by providers and patients, as well as regulatory approval—and it is becoming increasingly difficult for researchers to access the data necessary to prove such value," Darren Brodeur, CuriMeta's chief commercial officer, said in the press release.
"We are investing significantly in augmenting and improving the usefulness of the data, not just gathering it," Davis Walp, CuriMeta founder and CEO, echoed in the press release. Its data experts will "enhance the quality, completeness, and research value of our collaborators' data.”
The typical process of collecting clinical data is not optimized for research, Walp told Fierce Healthcare. A notable portion of these data is unstructured, containing buried value that is difficult to extract. As a result, complex medical research has historically been driven by randomized controlled trials, which can take years, are expensive and tend to be narrow in scope and representation.
Nonetheless, data from health systems are “rich data resources,” and researchers “desperately need this data to fill in the gaps” in medicine, Walp said. When it comes to working with real-world evidence, “never underestimate the difficulty of asking even a simple question,” Philip Payne, Ph.D., WashU Medicine’s chief data scientist and director of its Institute for Informatics, told Fierce Healthcare.
CuriMeta will lean into, ingest and transform unstructured data like freeform text to make them more accessible, potentially facilitating faster innovations in medicine. Researchers relied on real-world data collected throughout the pandemic to better understand patient subpopulations and disease severity, which drove more informed care. Similarly, analyzing data from patients who experienced heart attacks could drive better interventions and treatment, CuriMeta argues.
“We see this new company as a catalyst for the types of research that we very much need to be conducting,” Payne said. WashU Medicine is motivated by a moral obligation to learn from patient interactions and improve care for optimal health outcomes. “That means we need to find better ways to leverage that data, which is generated during the course of care, and then turn that into new discoveries that produce those better outcomes.”