Sramana Mitra: How long do you think it’s going to take for those seven kinds of datasets to build up in an accessible fashion? Are we a decade away?
Matthew Michela: We shouldn’t be 10 years away at all. We’re probably in a three to five-year timeframe. You’re going to see, next year, significant advancements. Where does this thing start to elevate?
This initial focus is going to be around patient and site identification. Everybody has this paucity of patients. That’s a hot problem to solve right now. You’ll see that. This needs to be solved. Not just how do I find patients but how do I make sure that I have the right data on what they’re doing today and tomorrow. It works its way back into pure research. It works its way through the three phases of trials. It has to be applied in post-market.
In that regard, it will probably take 10 years to look at a complete drug and device development process to say, “How do I work through these various phases from pure research all the way to post-market?” The initial focus in the next three years is going to be major advancements in select therapeutic areas as well as patient identification and site selection.
Sramana Mitra: Where would you recommend new entrepreneurs to look for problems to solve within this domain that you are working in? Where are some obvious open problems around which new entrepreneurs can start companies?
Matthew Michela: Obviously, AI is a completely growing field. We’re going to see great demand for clinicians that have some capabilities around data science and technology. We’re going to see a lot of entrepreneurs in that area. There’s a lot of opportunities in virtual health as well. It’s not all about big infrastructure.
You’re going to see a lot of entrepreneurs who are solving small problems that can help support behavioral change. You’re going to see it in weight loss and basic physical activity. There’s still a lot of room in that space and we also see the emergence of very sophisticated cloud-based platforms now.
Amazon has matured. Azure has matured. They all provide a lot more tools for entrepreneurs to accelerate their backend technology development. You’re going to see more of that happen. In the consumer space, you’ll see a lot there.
Consumers are a big part of our constituency here. We actually have a consumer health application, Mammosphere, that sits inside our ecosystem application suite for Life Image where an individual patient gets their own account and can digitally acquire their medical records. It attaches to the Life Image platform. They make a request that gets procured. They own the data.
We’re using that application to support a clinical trial called The Wisdom Trial that’s offered out of the University of California and University of San Francisco. That is a very large national trial testing the efficacy of mammography screening guidelines. Running a trial of 100,000 to 150,000 patients in 32 states would take forever. Just acquiring the data would take forever.
Every patient that enrolls gets our application focused on women and women’s breast health. They get their own Mammosphere for their own purpose. They use it to collect their own medical records and history so they can keep it all in one place. That patient owns that data forever, which means they get to push a button and send it to a specialist who they want to get care from later on.
They’re building their individual medical health record. We’re enabling them to acquire the data without having to run around. Think about these use cases which I think entrepreneurs can help with. How do women, that have dense breast tissues, get about getting five years of history when they go for their screen? It’s burdensome. They don’t have that record.
We’re helping them collect in advance. We have patients that may get a diagnosis of triple negative. That can be a disease that progresses so quickly that they may not have a chance to get ahead of that disease four weeks down the road. A patient may take four weeks to collect their record before they can even see a specialist.
We accelerate the adoption to those records so that the patient can, very quickly, get to that treatment without running around to five different places filling out consent forms. A big trend that we hadn’t talked about is this drive in consumerism. This is going to be a very interesting space for entrepreneurs.
Our health system is oriented towards providers and payers. There’s an undiscovered universe of what consumers really do want, and we’re applying technology in solutions to help them move that along. We’re going to see that move along especially if the federal government mandate that data becomes available and transferrable to patients. That’s great.
We are within a decade of having all the clinical information that they may have and need. I’m even going to have the ability to say, “I’d like to delete all of that data because I don’t want you to have it anymore.” It’s probably the easier business model too, to tell you the truth.
Sramana Mitra: Great. Thank you for your time.