Verana strikes research collaboration with Janssen on ophthalmology and urology

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Healthcare analytics startup Verana Health struck a partnership with a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. The company will work with Janssen Research and Development in a research collaboration development focused on ophthalmology and urology.

San Francisco-based Verana originally started as a tele-ophthalmology startup, but pivoted two years ago to make tools for physicians and researchers using de-identified data from patient registries. Alphabet’s GV is a backer of the startup, which raised $100 million last year. Verana has since struck deals with the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the American Academy of Neurology and the American Urological Association to be able to access patient data.

Through its partnership with Janssen, Verana will curate data to help answer questions about patient populations and inform study design.

Specifically, the companies will focus being able to better characterize early-stage prostate cancer, and to better understand the progression and outcomes for patients treated for diabetic macular edema, a complication of diabetes that can lead to vision loss.

Because of the gap in time between when patients are seen by a urologist for early-stage prostate cancer, and an oncologist in late-stage prostate cancer, it’s difficult to work backwards, said Hylton Kalvaria, Verana’s senior vice president of commercial and strategic partnerships.

“What we’re really excited about is being able to characterize early-stage prostate cancer where there hasn’t been enough information about what the patient journey looks like at that stage,” he said in an interview with MedCity News.

Verana focuses on patient registries because they contain information on patient outcomes that can be hard to find in other data sources. Important information, such as whether a patient’s cancer progressed, is sometimes hidden in unstructured notes.

“That’s really the value that we bring here,” Kalvaria said. “What is the survival of that patient who took that drug? What is the story of the progression of their disease?”

Photo credit: from2015, Getty Images

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