Bellevue-based big data company Atigeo has raised an $18.4 million financing round to roll out technology that helps patients get medical treatments that are specific to individuals.
Bellevue-based Atigeo, a data-analytics company, has raised an $18.4 million financing round to roll out technology that helps patients get medical treatments specific to their individual needs.
The convertible debt financing round was finished off by Ascension Ventures, the investing arm of Ascension, the largest nonprofit hospital system in the U.S. The rest of the funding came from undisclosed previous investors, as well as new participants.
Atigeo also announced a partnership with Ascension after two years of tests. The Bellevue company’s technology will be used at hospitals throughout the Catholic-based health system.
Atigeo CEO and founder Michael Sandoval had worked in data analytics for years, but his interest in how that may affect health care was sparked when his wife fell ill with terminal breast cancer.
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When Sandoval’s wife was diagnosed, he quickly learned how hard it was to find treatment options aimed specifically for her, a young woman.
“With individualized medicine, she should be treated differently than a 75-year-old patient,” he said. “ … I would go on the Internet to try to find specific drug trials for my wife and Google search had 10,000 pages of information.”
There had to be an easier way, thought Sandoval. His wife died within two years of his joining Microsoft, and Sandoval kept working on that question.
After a 10-year stint as a general manager at Microsoft, Sandoval left in 2005 and formed Atigeo.
The company’s big-data platform, called xPatterns, specializes in pulling together relevant information from numerous separate data sources and spotting patterns. Doctors at Ascension use it to see relevant data from a patient’s medical history as well as how other similar patients may have been treated.
“We are providing the ability for the doctors to look through a very thick medical record (quickly) and understand that person has indicators for specific types of diseases,” Sandoval said. “The system is learning procedures and protocols and absorbing them, then saying, ‘How do patients like that person react in similar circumstances?’ ”
Grabbing data from different sources allows doctors to see the “whole ecosystem” the patient is part of, he said. Just as xPatterns can surface pieces of information, it can also obfuscate information if privacy practices and regulations call for it.
Atigeo’s system goes deeper than the kind of personal recommendations powered by, say, Amazon or Netflix, because it also understands the patient’s real-time circumstances, Sandoval said.
The stakes are much higher in health care than in other industries, said Nilay Shah, a professor in the Health Care Policy and Research department at Mayo Clinic. It’s one thing to create technology that recommends which drug might be best for a specific person, and quite another for the doctor to be confident with that conclusion.
“I think the technology and methodology are getting there,” Shah said. “The question is more, ‘What’s the acceptability of those results to be put into real practice?’ ”
Shah believes big-data technology for health care is on the right track, but there is much more to be done before it becomes part of a doctor’s routine.
Atigeo existed as a company for 10 years before the “big data” became a buzzword. The company has turned away many venture capitalists interested in investing, Sandoval said, because it is playing for the long term.
“We’re not here to flip this in five years,” Sandoval said. He estimates that the company has a combined total of $100 million in revenue and outside investments.
Atigeo plans to use this latest funding round to double its 100-employee staff by the end of next year, and keep building out the product. Although many of the company’s customers and trials focus on the health-care industry, Sandoval sees potential in many other markets, including retail.
Ascension Ventures managing director Victor Kats will join Atigeo’s board of directors.