Company that helps speed drug approvals raises $27 million February 5, 2019

Manhattan-based health technology company Aetion has added $27 million to its previously announced Series B round, bringing the total raised in the round to $63 million and the company’s total funding to $77 million. The company attracted strategic investment from Sanofi, UCB, McKesson Ventures, and Horizon Health Services, who join earlier investors including Amgen Ventures.

“The expansion of our Series B round was in response to a high degree of unsolicited interest among clients and potential partners that have seen the value we provide first hand,” said Aetion CEO Carolyn Magill. “The investment is a reflection of our substantial growth in customer adoption over the past year and the ever-important role of real-world evidence in advancing healthcare’s most critical decisions.”

Aetion sells software that helps drug companies test the effectiveness of their products using real-world data.

“Make no mistake: this marks a turning point. Just a couple of years ago, we would not have seen major healthcare companies investing in a real-world evidence company,” Magill wrote in a recent essay. “These companies are investing in us because our priorities are aligned. We all want to get the right treatments to the right patients at the right time and with the lowest cost. And we all recognize that making that happen relies on real-world evidence.”

The term “real-world data” in the world of drug development means that rather than simply learning about a medication’s effectiveness using clinical trials with limited numbers of subjects, who may not be representative of the real population of people using the medication, the drug data is pulled from insurance claims, electronic medical records, and patient registries.

Aetion’s software could help accelerate drug approvals by the Food and Drug Administration because applicants can show regulators additional data demonstrating a drug’s effectiveness to complement clinical trials.

“We think real-world evidence is critical for enhancing product safety,” Magill said.

An Aetion spokesperson said that the investment will be used to grow new customers and markets in life sciences, payers, and provider industries, globally, while the company builds out its platform to support specific therapeutic area-related intelligence. The areas of related intelligence Aetion plans to grow into are oncology, immunology, cardio-metabolic, and neurology.

Aetion’s software is being used by eight of the top 15 global biopharma firms, as well as leading payers, academic institutions, and U.S. and international regulatory bodies.

Bill Georges, chief strategy officer at insurance company Horizon Healthcare Services said Horizon is using Aetion’s analytics to determine which treatments have been most effective for its members with diabetes. The company shares this information with doctors.

In 2018, Aetion partnered with the FDA to re-create 30 prior randomized clinical trials using real-world data, providing the agency with additional information with which to make its drug approval decisions.

“In extensive testing, the Aetion Evidence Platform has demonstrated a high degree of accuracy against a range of FDA modular programs, including the FDA Sentinel System, the established standard for decision-makers using health care database analytics,” the spokesperson said. “As life science companies and payers increasingly recognize the impact RWE can have in making more efficient, higher quality decisions, they are turning to Aetion as the company with the only scientifically validated platform that can undertake complex analyses to generate real-world evidence at scale.”

See the original press release here.

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See Magill’s essay on LinkedIn.

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