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



Healthcare startup Novellia’s platform seeks to digitally usher in 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 scale back drug improvement timeframes. 

Why did you begin this firm?

My co-founder Dr. Abe Abraham and I based Novellia to hurry up medical 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 knowledge. 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 knowledge to diagnose him early sufficient, or to deal with him with true precision care. His well being historical past held the solutions, however the knowledge 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 expertise and associated insurance policies have been headed. Abe spent his profession as a drug developer, designing trials, working with actual world knowledge, and growing medical technique for drug launches.

It was over drinks to commemorate my grandfather, after we began catching up on tendencies we have been listening to about in digital well being. I advised Abe about this unimaginable new API expertise I got here throughout. Principally, this expertise allowed sufferers to get near-instant entry to a number of kinds of well being knowledge: EHR, insurance coverage claims, wearables. The present platforms didn’t work tremendous effectively, and there have been nonetheless all types of entry points to work out, however I assumed 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 right combination of abilities (digital well being and drug improvement) to make this expertise higher, and we’d already spent the higher a part of a decade working collectively. 

What want are you in search of to handle 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 medical 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 might probably save my Tata. The issue was there wasn’t sufficient knowledge to get it authorized on the time. Researchers have been nonetheless compelled to comb via low-quality knowledge, like scanned physician’s notes and spreadsheets, although a lot richer datasets have been on the market. By the point the FDA lastly authorized the drug, it was too late – my grandfather had already handed away. 

The core underlying drawback we’re attempting 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 knowledge for only one yr, or their medical knowledge from only one physician for under six months.  They should make enormous, consequential selections primarily based on this tiny sliver of knowledge. It’s not simply harmful, it’s pointless.

If we’re capable of present terribly wealthy, linked knowledge, all the pieces adjustments. Medication get to market sooner. Healthcare turns into extra inexpensive 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 knowledge, the digital complement to “multiomics” platforms. Multiomics is an strategy in healthcare the place you basically pull in a number of totally different “omics”, or kinds of biologic knowledge. It goals to assist researchers perceive how these omics work together with one another to uncover hidden info and patterns. 

So as an alternative of simply genomics or proteomics knowledge, Novellia’s platform will digitally usher in 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 total 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 have now the expertise and skillset to construct one thing by no means seen earlier than. I began my profession as a guide and spent a number 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 medication, and began Roche’s international 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 medication, 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 just 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 heart of all the pieces we do.

This implies we help complete transparency on how knowledge is used. Equally necessary, we imagine in working with sufferers to find out methods during which they’ll profit from the precious knowledge that they share.

Proper now, as you’re studying this, a knowledge firm you’ve most likely by no means heard of simply offered your well being knowledge for tens of millions of {dollars}. Consider us: we’ve been on the opposite facet, and we’ve seen the contracts. Thousands and thousands of {dollars} per dataset.

Traditionally, sufferers haven’t been requested to offer consent to share this personal knowledge, they usually’ve hardly ever 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 info, or else life-saving medication gained’t get to market. However we expect well being knowledge corporations must know higher. 

Once we considered how robust it’s for sufferers to get entry to medication, to pay for medical tools–to even pay for basic items like training, meals, and hire, we realized it was important to start out an organization that lastly put sufferers first. 

Novellia hyperlinks every bit of a affected person’s multidimensional well being story to create uniquely wealthy, longitudinal knowledge packages that we all know can be helpful for biotech and the broader life sciences. With sufferers on the heart of all we do, we goal to transparently share how a affected person’s knowledge is used and discover one of the simplest ways to ship worth again to sufferers. Human beings maintain treasure troves of life-saving knowledge; we imagine they need to be acknowledged and celebrated for it.  

Who’s your buyer? 

Clinicians and main medical researchers at biotech corporations. The parents which might be on the entrance lines- sleeves rolled up and dealing onerous to maintain our family members alive. Be at liberty to succeed in out to our group 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 knowledge at one well being system, for only a yr or two, to with the ability to see full well being knowledge–medical, insurance coverage, and so on.–throughout suppliers and insurers over time. 

Finally, our objective is to signal enterprise contracts–the place the info shared with the R&D division, for instance, will be utilized compliantly by the appropriate 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’ve got medical validation on your product?

Certainly one of our principal objectives is to publish the outcomes from a few of our first research to reveal the groundbreaking potential of digitomics. We firmly imagine we’re not removed from a future the place the FDA goes, “wow–that digitomics knowledge 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 medical trial knowledge. 

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 info we’re pulling in.

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

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

Picture: ClaudioVentrella, Getty Photos



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