Horizon Healthcare Services, the Blues plan in New Jersey, announced this week that it was providing financing to GNS Healthcare. Terms were not disclosed.
With the investment, it joins Cambia Health Solutions (Oregon Blues), biopharmaceutical giant Celgene and a host of investment groups that have stepped forward to capitalize the 60-employee company.
It has become increasingly important from a clinical and cost standpoint to zero in on what drugs work best on specific populations of patients, said Colin Hill, 43, CEO of GNS.
Whereas 20 years ago, there were just a few drugs to treat the plasma cell cancer multiple myeloma, 15-plus treatments are available today, Hill said. There's been a proliferation of diabetes drugs of the same magnitude.
The emergence of precision medicine, of which GNS is a part, presents an opportunity for clinicians to take aggregated claims data and medical records data to help discern which drugs work best given the specific conditions of the sufferer, Hill said.
In some cases, genetic samples are taken from patients to make those decisions, Hill said. In others, the data will provide an outline of the best practices for disease populations, he said.
Ultimately, taking some of the trial and error out of treatment regimes could save billions of dollars for providers and insurers, he said.
A key goal, Hill said, “is the better matching of drugs to patients.”
Hill and chief commercial officer Iya Khalil co-founded GNS in 2000. Fifty of the 60 employees work on the technical side of the business, including half who write software. Ten people work on the business side. Hill declined to reveal annual revenue.
Horizon is part of a third tranche of investors that includes California's Heritage Provider Network and the U.S. subsidiary of Japan's Mitsui & Co.
Dr. Minalkumar Patel, senior vice president and chief strategy officer at Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey, said Horizon was attracted by how GNS can apply advanced analytics to mainstream data sources such as claims and electronic medical records.
“This breakthrough approach very precisely predicts individual risk, revealing opportunities to intervene on a timeline that delivers value. When it is applied to emerging data streams, such as genomic and mobile device data, causal machine learning has the power to take population health to the next level,” Patel said.