When Zach and I started Flatiron Health in 2012, we had little more than a vision of improving cancer treatment and research by combining the best minds in healthcare and technology. Inspired by personal experiences with cancer in our families, we always believed that cancer wouldn’t be “solved” by the healthcare community alone; it also needed close collaboration from the technology industry working together hand in hand.
Over the past five and a half years, Flatiron has grown to nearly 500 individuals from many different backgrounds working towards a common mission: to improve lives by learning from the experience of every cancer patient. We have employees who joined us from technology companies like Google and Amazon, cancer centers ranging from Memorial Sloan-Kettering to private practices in rural America, academia, biopharma companies, nonprofits, and government agencies. We have enough doctors and clinicians on our team that we used to joke that if this whole Flatiron thing didn’t work out, we could start a cancer center.
Thankfully, we never had to implement that backup plan. Today I am extremely proud to announce that Flatiron Health has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Roche, one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies and an innovator at developing new medicines to fight cancer. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of this year, at which time Flatiron Health will become an autonomous separate legal entity and member of the Roche Group.
By coming together with Roche, Flatiron will have an accelerated ability to achieve our mission while continuing to operate independently with access to greater resources. We have a clear mandate and structure to continue to operate industry-wide with all stakeholders and customers as we build a learning healthcare platform for oncology. Importantly, this does not change our strategic objectives and our priorities; it only helps us get to the finish line faster.
Our relationship with Roche did not come out of the blue. We first began working with their pharma division as a client soon after we started the company. And then, in late 2015, Roche led our Series C financing round. This kicked off a strategic partnership whereby Roche Pharmaceuticals became a major client and a proponent of our industry-leading real world evidence platform, helping develop our products and services as well as advance our efforts with the FDA and other stakeholders.
Fast forward to today, as part of the acquisition, Roche is committing additional resources to Flatiron so that we can continue on our mission and have an even greater impact. Their support is centered around Flatiron continuing to operate autonomously alongside their other business units and divisions such as Roche Pharmaceuticals and Roche Diagnostics. We believe that this will lead to stronger products and services benefiting all of our customers, including community oncology practices, academic medical centers, and life science companies, and most importantly, cancer patients.
Today’s announcement gives me great confidence in our team and what we’ve built so far, and even greater optimism for what we have yet to accomplish.
To the Flatiron team: this is a major milestone in a yet-to-be-finished story. As you well know, we have a lot of work to do in order to accomplish our mission, and this certainly doesn’t change that; not what we’re working on or how we build. We will continue to recruit and retain top talent, build a transparent culture, live our values, and perhaps most importantly, continue to fight for every single cancer patient.