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San Francisco-based clinical data startup Verana Health expands into neurology

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Clinical data startup Verana Health has branched out from its initial focus on ophthalmology through a partnership with the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) to license the organization’s Axon Registry.

The Axon Registry is a qualified clinical data registry that offers real-world data across a variety of practices and patients in disease states including ALS, dementia, epilepsy. essential tremor, multiple sclerosis, depression and Parkinson’s Disease. The registry pulls relevant patient data from EHRs provided by AAN members.

San Francisco-based Verana Health was initially started as tele-ophthalmology company Digisight Technologies and raised a $30 million Series C financing round last year led by Google Ventures to support the transition to a new business model.

The 45-person company is focused on licensing real-world clinical databases from medical academies, organizing the data and building analytics tools to make the information useful to the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.

The AAN said in order to ensure compliance with HIPAA, data given to Verana will be verified by a third-party statistician as being de-identified.

“We are entering an exciting era where data-driven medicine is improving the quality of the care we’re providing and giving us clues about which therapies work best, and how we may be able to better predict and prevent disease,”AAN President Ralph L. Sacco said in a statement.

“By collaborating with Verana Health, we will be able to accelerate research projects using our growing Axon Registry to ultimately benefit and provide hope for our patients.”

Verana CEO Miki Kapoor said neurology marked a logical next step for the company because of the close relationship between many ophthalmological and neurological conditions.

“Transitioning to working with neurologic data in addition to ophthalmic data gives us a better picture on some of the diseases we are already familiar with,” Kapoor said in an email.

Many of the life science companies we work with are major players in both ophthalmic and neurologic treatments, and we are in early conversations with several companies developing treatments in neurology to determine how we can assist their research efforts.”

Kapoor said the company has seen “tremendous” uptake among their existing ophthalmology customers which has broadened the ability of life science companies to leverage real-world data.

A few examples include the use of the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s IRIS registry data to assess long-term patient outcomes for a novel medical device and Verana’s technology being used in conjunction with IRIS to look at clinical outcomes of trabeculectomy, a surgical procedure which previously lacked thorough outcomes data.

“By using an existing data set of a large, representative patient population, the research was able to be done much more quickly and effectively,” Kapoor said.
“Verana bends the time curve for innovators, which both reduces costs in an overburdened American healthcare system and enables important innovations to reach the patients who need them quicker.”

Key to the company’s strategy is developing relationships across other specialties and Kapoor said the company expects to sign another licensing agreement by the end of the year.

Other priorities include continued structuring and cleaning of data to meet standards necessary for clinical trials, as well as supplementing existing existing clinical EHR data with other information like image data, claims data, prescription data, and patient reported outcomes

Picture: Andreus, Getty Images

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