Takeda Pharmaceutical Company announced today that it is making an equity investment in patient-centric software-as-a-service (SaaS) health data company Seqster. This will allow it to significantly ramp up the development and deployment of its technology that integrates with, and collects data from, payer, provider, and clinical research data platforms.
According to San Diego-based Seqster—named one of Clinical OMICs‘ “10 US Startups to Watch” in 2018—one of its core technologies is its Seqster Research Portal (SRP), which streamlines patient recruitment for clinical trials by matching consenting patients based on their EHR, genomic, and real-time digital data delivered by wearable monitoring devices.
While Takeda has not disclosed how they plan to leverage Seqster’s capabilities, these capabilities would be of interest to a pharma partner such as Takeda to improve efficiency of clinical trial recruitment, especially considering Takeda’s emphasis on developing cancer therapeutics.
“The biggest value we bring to a pharmaceutical or biotech company is we are able to streamline recruitment, consenting and reconsenting patients with the SRP,” Seqster CEO and co-founder Ardy Arianpour told Clinical OMICs.
“This can significantly decrease the friction and cost of obtaining patient medical records, sequencing data, or any wearable or continuous monitoring data.”
According to Arianpour, Takeda’s investment is a validation of the company founders’ vision of providing a data platform that puts the patient at the center of the equation, allowing them complete control of their health data, while also working within the various stakeholder groups in healthcare and drug development to easily collect and share data from disparate sources.
“From the patient perspective, we wanted to provide value to patients who participate with us to have a meaningful interaction not only with their own health, but the health data of their family as well,” Arianpour explained. “We also heard from patients in clinical trials that the pharma companies should provide something more than just their products. Our platform for patient engagement does just that. It’s a match made in heaven.”
Bruce Meadows, head of investments at Takeda Digital Ventures, commented that his company’s investment in Seqster is a “cornerstone of our digital health strategy, and further enables us to serve our patient community by advancing the deployment of innovative technology solutions.”
Meadows continued: “Seqster’s technology is a very unique platform that addresses interoperability on not only a nationwide scale but also globally. Interoperability is one of the biggest barriers to applying precision medicine to clinical trials and patient engagement.”
The path to developing an interoperable platform was never discussed in those terms, Arianpour said. Instead the early development focus was on providing a way for patients to manage, provide, and control who uses all the different kinds of health data they generate.
“We know now that data interoperability is one of the biggest obstacles to providing precision healthcare to patients,” Arianpour noted. “We spent significant time on our back-end data model to standardize and harmonize it. Off-the-shelf data mapping and data collection software was never a technology that could stitch it all together.”
“Seqster has done that. Our development work, which was always focused on the patient, solved the interoperability problem almost by accident.”
Judging by the investment from Takeda, Seqster has both stayed true to its original vision while now enabling pharma companies to tap a deeper and more robust dataset for their drug development work.
“We couldn’t be more excited to be contributing to empowering patients to access their health data and share it on their own terms,” noted Janine Kopp, venture associate at Takeda Digital Ventures.