VieCure and Avera Health Announce a Strategic Collaboration Agreement for Personalized Medicine

DENVER — (December 15, 2016) — VieCure and Avera Health (Sioux Falls, SD) announced today a first-of-its-kind clinical collaboration in personalized medicine for oncology.  The strategic collaboration will combine Avera’s world leading position in evidence-based knowledge and practical application of genomic-based precision medicine for cancer patients with VieCure’s cognitive computing platform.  Avera’s preeminent molecular cancer knowledge, along with nationally accepted standards of care, will be made accessible, in real time, to patients and treatment teams around the world through the VCurePrecision™ platform.

This collaboration will provide patients and oncologists with immediate access to evidence-based guidelines and the ability to quickly create personalized treatment strategies and actionable patient-specific treatment plans that directly address relevant tumor markers, genomic mutations, and level of gene expression inherent in individual patients’ cancers.  The comprehensive treatment strategies and plans address the full continuum of cancer care, including prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment (including surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, anti-hormonal therapy, targeted therapy and immunotherapy) and wellness follow-up care. 

Genomic science has opened up a whole new way to think about treating cancers, using targeted therapies and immunotherapies designed to attack the actual drivers of cancer.  These innovative therapies are significantly improving the odds of survival for many cancer patients who were otherwise compelled to receive multiple lines of treatment using standard of care with substantially greater cost, decreasing chances of success with each line of therapy, increased side effects and poorer quality of life.  Avera Health is one of a handful of world leaders generating evidence-based knowledge through their practical application of genomic-based precision medicine for cancer patients.

Current standards of care follow a one-size-fits-all approach. Existing chemotherapies do not focus on the specific drivers of the individual’s cancer and while they can destroy cancer cells, they destroy healthy cells too, leading to a lengthier and more expensive recovery. Unfortunately, these approved standards of care are not personalized to the patient’s individual circumstances. However, there is hope. With the right knowledge and tools, physicians can offer their patients a personalized treatment strategy, and actionable treatment plans aligned with the chosen strategy, that improve the individual’s chances of survival.  It has been demonstrated that oncology practices that embrace both the best of genomic science and existing nationally-accepted standards of care achieve better outcomes for their patients.

The absence, however, of codified clinical rules in precision medicine in oncology has left many clinicians without practical support and access to the latest knowledge and experts in this dynamic and rapidly evolving field of practice.  These new diagnostic and treatment interventions come at a considerable cost, and health insurers, hospital leaders, and government payers are requiring that local practicing clinicians demonstrate competence in molecular oncology before ordering expensive next generation tumor sequencing tests and prescribing many of the new and highly effective targeted therapies, combination treatments, and immunotherapies.

VieCure and Avera Health recognized that genomic medicine in oncology could not proliferate and scale quickly, safely, or effectively without a solution that allowed busy practitioners to have access to the right clinical guidance, regardless of geography.  VieCure committed to building the right artificial intelligence platform supported by a best-in-class clinical rules engine while Avera committed to validating the technology and the codified precision medicine rules in their clinical settings in order to make these life saving options readily available to all practitioners.  This collaboration will put world leading cancer and molecular knowledge at the fingertips of the patient and the oncologist.

VieCure recognized the clinical excellence at Avera Health and more specifically the Avera Cancer Institute Center for Precision Oncology and worked to establish the strategic collaboration in early 2016. Avera is an active member of the recognized Worldwide Innovative Networking (WIN) Consortium in personalized medicine which is committed to rapidly translating genomic tailored discoveries into standards of care worldwide. Precision medicine is a key strategic platform for the Avera leadership and the organization has established a next-generation tumor sequencing laboratory in California and recruited a world expert in Dr. Brian Leyland-Jones, along with his team, to lead their program.   

Gerry Hogue, President and CEO of VieCure, highlighted key differentiators of the VieCure platform.  “Our platform quite literally puts a virtual peer-to-peer consult in the hands of busy oncologists. These professionals want to make the right decisions for patients, not organize and collate data. Oncologists will be able to accelerate decision-making, improve clinical through-put and efficiency, make better and more appropriate decisions at the individual patient level, and generate considerable savings for CMS, and other payers, while increasing revenue for their clinic or health care institution.”  

The VCurePrecision™ platform is also completely embeddable within the health institution’s electronic medical record solution, should the provider organization choose to implement in this manner.  

Dr. David Kapaska, Regional President and CEO of Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center, commented on the drivers of the relationship with VieCure.  “Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values. As such we feel it is our obligation to share our knowledge and success in the cancer space with physicians, care teams and patients battling this disease.  This fundamental belief is what drives our commitment to our collaboration with VieCure.  It is our desire to help as many cancer patients and their families as much as possible and we feel our relationship with VieCure will help us accomplish this.”

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