Novellia founders search to make use of digitomics, precision information to hurry up drug improvement

Healthcare startup Novellia’s platform seeks to digitally herald all chapters of a affected person’s well being journey to permit clinicians and researchers to lastly see the total story. In response to emailed questions, CEO and Co-founder Shashi Shankar defined how he and Dr. Abe Abraham, co-founder and chief medical officer, are working to cut back drug improvement timeframes. 

Why did you begin this firm?

My co-founder Dr. Abe Abraham and I based Novellia to hurry up scientific analysis, assist docs diagnose and deal with sufferers extra successfully, and make healthcare extra equitable. At Novellia, we’re creating the world’s first platform to digitally seize an individual’s full well being information. We name it “digitomics”, which is mainly the digital complement to “multiomics” platforms.

We began the corporate on the anniversary of my Tata’s (grandfather’s) passing. He was identified with late-stage gastroesophageal most cancers. Docs didn’t have sufficient information to diagnose him early sufficient, or to deal with him with true precision care. His well being historical past held the solutions, however the information have been sadly fragmented and caught in siloes.

Shashi Shankar (proper) with Abe Abraham

Abe and I are each ex-Genentechers with complementary ability units. I helped launch digital well being globally for Roche and spent my profession heads down in well being tech, actually understanding the place the know-how and associated insurance policies have been headed. Abe spent his profession as a drug developer, designing trials, working with actual world information, and growing medical technique for drug launches.

It was over drinks to commemorate my grandfather, once we began catching up on traits we have been listening to about in digital well being. I informed Abe about this unimaginable new API know-how I got here throughout. Principally, this know-how allowed sufferers to get near-instant entry to a number of varieties of well being information: EHR, insurance coverage claims, wearables. The present platforms didn’t work tremendous properly, and there have been nonetheless all types of entry points to work out, however I believed it was promising and may very well be improved. 

Abe grabbed a serviette and began sketching out all types of use instances throughout pharma R&D and medical affairs. We knew between the 2 of us, we had the correct mix of abilities (digital well being and drug improvement) to make this know-how higher, and we’d already spent the higher a part of a decade working collectively. 

What want are you looking for to deal with in healthcare?

There’s no motive it ought to nonetheless take near 12 years and price over $2 billion to get life-saving medicines to sufferers. These statistics have began to enhance, however not by a lot. Artificial scientific trials are promising, however success charges are nonetheless far too low. 

There’s a private price to this. In my case, I knew from my expertise working at Genentech {that a} new drug was about to come back to market which may probably save my Tata. The issue was there wasn’t sufficient information to get it accredited on the time. Researchers have been nonetheless pressured to comb by low-quality information, like scanned physician’s notes and spreadsheets, though a lot richer datasets have been on the market. By the point the FDA lastly accredited the drug, it was too late – my grandfather had already handed away. 

The core underlying drawback we’re making an attempt to repair with Novellia is that docs and researchers solely get to see a small slice of a affected person’s story – for instance, their insurance coverage information for only one yr, or their medical information from only one physician for less than six months.  They should make enormous, consequential choices based mostly on this tiny sliver of data. It’s not simply harmful, it’s pointless.

If we’re in a position to present terribly wealthy, linked information, every part adjustments. Medication get to market quicker. Healthcare turns into extra reasonably priced and equitable. Digitomics, we imagine, is the reply. 

What’s Digitomics? How does it work?

Our digitomics platform would be the world’s first platform to digitally seize an individual’s full well being information, the digital complement to “multiomics” platforms. Multiomics is an method in healthcare the place you basically pull in a number of completely different “omics”, or varieties of biologic information. It goals to assist researchers perceive how these omics work together with one another to uncover hidden data and patterns. 

So as a substitute of simply genomics or proteomics information, Novellia’s platform will digitally herald all chapters of a affected person’s well being journey to permit clinicians and researchers to lastly see the total story. Clinicians and researchers can lastly see a full, holistic image of their sufferers over that affected person’s complete healthcare journey, no matter what docs, insurers, or wearable merchandise that affected person has interacted with. 

By offering full well being tales, digitomics may also help rapidly determine key insights to drive extra environment friendly analysis and care. 

Is that this your first healthcare startup? What’s your background in healthcare?

Whereas that is our first startup, we’ve got the expertise and skillset to construct one thing by no means seen earlier than. I began my profession as a marketing consultant and spent a couple of years engaged on PPACA well being coverage in DC earlier than becoming a member of Genentech. At Genentech, I labored on partnerships with hospitals, launched new medicine, and began Roche’s world digital well being program in Switzerland. I earned my MPH MBA from Dartmouth and Johns Hopkins, respectively. 

Abe’s additionally a Johns Hopkins alumnus. After medical faculty, he hung out on the College of Chicago and Northwestern College targeted on sleep drugs, pulmonology, and endocrinology. He went on to get his MBA earlier than becoming a member of Genentech. After rising up the ranks in medical affairs, he joined AllAdapt as the worldwide head of drug improvement. 

Elliot, our technical co-founder, is a seasoned startup engineer! He started his startup profession as an early engineer at Zocdoc the place he labored on the supplier expertise, sponsored outcomes and gross sales engineering groups as a senior full-stack engineer. After Zocdoc, Elliot joined Marvel as the primary U.S.-based engineer and helped construct an engineering group rising to go of engineering. Most lately, he was senior director of engineering for Thirty Madison liable for the e-commerce manufacturers and affected person expertise. 

What’s your organization’s enterprise mannequin?

Before everything, we begin by placing the affected person on the middle of every part we do.

This implies we help whole transparency on how information is used. Equally essential, we imagine in working with sufferers to find out methods during which they will profit from the dear information that they share.

Proper now, as you’re studying this, an information firm you’ve most likely by no means heard of simply bought your well being information for thousands and thousands of {dollars}. Consider us: we’ve been on the opposite aspect, and we’ve seen the contracts. Hundreds of thousands of {dollars} per dataset.

Traditionally, sufferers haven’t been requested to supply consent to share this personal information, they usually’ve not often seen direct profit from doing so. Many instances, these sufferers are single dad and mom, or they’re unable to work, or they’re coping with any variety of life challenges.  

We don’t knock researchers for getting the datasets: they want the information, or else life-saving medicine gained’t get to market. However we expect well being information corporations should know higher. 

After we thought of how powerful it’s for sufferers to get entry to medicine, to pay for medical gear–to even pay for staple items like training, meals, and lease, we realized it was important to begin an organization that lastly put sufferers first. 

Novellia hyperlinks each piece of a affected person’s multidimensional well being story to create uniquely wealthy, longitudinal information packages that we all know will likely be useful for biotech and the broader life sciences. With sufferers on the middle of all we do, we intention to transparently share how a affected person’s information is used and discover one of the best ways to ship worth again to sufferers. Human beings maintain treasure troves of life-saving information; we imagine they need to be acknowledged and celebrated for it.  

Who’s your buyer? 

Clinicians and main medical researchers at biotech corporations. The oldsters which might be on the entrance lines- sleeves rolled up and dealing laborious to maintain our family members alive. Be at liberty to achieve out to our staff concerning partnership alternatives. 

How do you generate income?  

Novellia helps these researchers go from simply with the ability to see a affected person’s siloed medical information at one well being system, for only a yr or two, to with the ability to see full well being information–medical, insurance coverage, and so on.–throughout suppliers and insurers over time. 

Finally, our aim is to signal enterprise contracts–the place the information shared with the R&D division, for instance, could be utilized compliantly by the fitting groups in industrial and market Entry. Workflow automation, compliance administration, with none restrict to the variety of sufferers or quantity of information utilized. 

Do you could have scientific validation on your product?

Considered one of our principal targets is to publish the outcomes from a few of our first research to show the groundbreaking potential of digitomics. We firmly imagine we’re not removed from a future the place the FDA goes, “wow–that digitomics information must be utilized in each single analysis program. It’s simply that exact and informative.” We see a day the place digitomics is a required complement to conventional scientific trial information. 

At what stage of improvement is your lead product?

We’re constructing the MVP as we communicate! We’ve been heads down for the previous few months sandboxing, constructing pipelines, actually kicking the tires on the information we’re pulling in.

We anticipate to deploy to market with a few of our earliest pharma companions very quickly. 

We don’t need to be simply one other well being information firm. We’re bullish on the promise of digitomics and see use instances extending past biotech and scientific care to finally powering totally artificial, data-first biotech corporations. 

Photograph: ClaudioVentrella, Getty Photographs