Pfizer, Merck invest $26 million in precision medicine startup Strata Oncology
The term precision medicine is often used interchangeably with the term “personalized medicine.” The two terms are related but not exactly the same. According to the Precision Medicine Initiative, precision medicine is “an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person.” Unlike the one-size-fits-all approach in which disease treatment and prevention strategies are developed for the average person, with less consideration for the differences between individuals, precision medicine allows doctors and researchers to predict more accurately which treatment and prevention strategies for a particular disease will work in which groups of people.
Founded in 2015 by Dan Rhodes, Keith Flaherty, and Scott Tomlins, Strata Oncology is a precision medicine startup dedicated to transforming cancer care by systematizing precision oncology across a network of health systems and pharma companies. The company empowers health systems to deliver a cost-effective, system-wide precision oncology program, one that integrates cutting-edge molecular profiling and precision therapy trials with routine care, so that all advanced cancer patients have the opportunity to benefit. This large network of trial-ready health systems provides a mechanism to rapidly and predictably enroll precision therapy trials.
Today, the company announced it has raised $26 million USD in Series B funding round. The latest funding round is led by new investors Pfizer Ventures, Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, Deerfield Management and Renaissance Venture Capital Fund with participation from existing investors Arboretum Ventures and Baird Capital. Strata Oncology will use the new funding to:
- Expand the Strata Precision Oncology Network, a group of leading health systems adopting Strata’s platform to systematize tumor molecular profiling and precision therapy trials.
- Further develop the company’s clinical-genomic data and software solutions to streamline health system precision oncology workflows and catalyze new clinical research opportunities.
- Submit the company’s tumor molecular profiling assay, StrataNGS, for approval by the US Food and Drug Administration. StrataNGS includes actionable DNA and RNA biomarkers and will be expanded to include tumor mutational load.
- Launch the Pan-cancer molecular Analysis for cancer THerapy (PATH) study, a Strata-sponsored master therapeutic protocol, to support rapid and cost-effective indication expansion studies for on-market pharma drugs.
“We are grateful to our early partners who have helped us demonstrate a new way forward in precision oncology,” said Dan Rhodes, PhD, CEO of Strata Oncology. “And now with this funding, we’re eager to take our offerings to the next level so that we can further enable our health system partners and deliver a truly differentiated solution for pharma drug development.”
“We believe that data is the future currency of healthcare,” added Prem Tumkosit, Investment Principal at Merck Global Health Innovation Fund. “Strata’s platform will generate and leverage clinical-genomic data to drive precision trial enrollment and advance cancer care.”
“We’ve been very impressed with Strata Oncology’s effort in building a comprehensive solution that meets the needs of both health systems and biopharma research,” said Bill Burkoth, Executive Director at Pfizer Ventures. “We look forward to working with the company to achieve its goal of transforming precision oncology.”