A Tampa cancer analytics company is teaming with one of the world’s biggest tech giants to expand the scope of its data collection and processing — and potentially help researchers develop new treatments.
M2Gen, which formed in 2006 out of a for-profit partnership between the Moffitt Cancer Center and Merck & Co., has reached a deal with Microsoft to boost its processing power and potentially its reach throughout the oncology world.
Terms of the deal, announced Thursday, were not disclosed. But both sides will get something out of it, M2Gen president and CEO Jim Gabriele said.
M2Gen will get “far superior computational power to do the cleansing and integration of that data than we have today,” Gabriele said. And Microsoft will be able to leverage M2Gen’s ties to the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network, a group of 18 cancer clinics in 10 states, to grow its health care platforms.
The ultimate result, Gabriele said, is that clinicians and researchers should soon have an easier time inputting detailed data from some 300,000 patients into M2Gen’s database, which could allow the company to scale up its cancer research analytics.
“You can do this across far more patients, you can generate far more potential hypotheses in terms of new drug development and discovery, you can advance far more research,” he said, “because you reduce friction, then you reduce time to get the value out of the data, and therefore time for it to be used to connect patients to a cure.”
Discussions with Microsoft were ongoing before Gabriele joined the company in August. M2Gen last spring announced “a significant new investment” by three firms, including the Merck Global Health Innovation Fund and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, the company’s leading shareholder. In 2017, the company received $75 million in venture capital from Hearst Communications.
“We are looking to scale significantly versus where we are today, and this partnership helps us do that,” Gabriele said.