CancerX, a public-private partnership focused on cancer innovation, said Friday it has welcomed 91 founding member organizations representing payers, providers, pharmaceutical companies and digital health firms.
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health are co-hosts of the partnership alongside the Tampa, Florida-based Moffitt Cancer Center and industry group the Digital Medicine Society. The partnership was announced by the White House in February as part of the Cancer Moonshot initiative, which was relaunched in 2022 and aims to cut cancer death rates in half over the next 25 years.
The 91 organizations include providers such as Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, MD Anderson and City of Hope Medical Center; digital health companies such as Thyme Care and Biofourmis; insurers such as Point32Health and Elevance Health and pharmaceutical companies such as AstraZeneca and the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.
CancerX’s work is financed through a combination of private and public funding. Each of the 91 founding members are paying different rates to participate, said Jennifer Goldsack, CEO of Digital Medicine Society. The federal government will provide funds to other CancerX-related initiatives, she said.
The CancerX model draws upon the federal government’s previous public-private partnerships, such as PandemicX, started in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and KidneyX, which aims to increase innovation in kidney care. CancerX's goals include gathering evidence and research on digital health in cancer care, establishing a startup accelerator and leading pilot projects that test cancer technology.
Goldsack said the CancerX partnership struck a chord with industry stakeholders looking to invest and innovate more in cancer care and research. The charter for CancerX was created in late March and there was immediate interest, she said.
“Look at these organizations and think about how long it usually takes them to execute a contract,” Goldsack said. “They have all signed that charter. This is a priority for them. They are chomping at the bit to get into this.”
CancerX’s first project is underway, as it is developing research into how digital innovation can reduce disparities and on the high cost of cancer care. The startup accelerator will launch no later than October and the first demonstration project will begin in early 2024, Goldsack said.
“There will be a group who are particularly interested in shaping the accelerator, there will be a group that's particularly interested in the research agenda and there will be a group that knows what data we need to show through demonstration projects,” Goldsack said.
Thyme Care provides care navigation services to cancer patients. Co-founder and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bobby Green said the collaboration with other CancerX members will give ThymeCare a chance to emphasize the importance of improving the navigation side of cancer care.
“When you think about the [Cancer] Moonshot, there's drug development and targeted therapies. But the best therapy in the world doesn't work if you can't get a ride to the office to receive that therapy,” Green said. “There are some very basic barriers to care that need to be addressed to allow all these advancements to work and impact people.”