N-of-One Names CEO, Forms Pact With Foundation Medicine

5/31/12Follow @arleneweintraub

Waltham, MA-based N-of-One announced today several milestones in its quest to provide tools that can help oncologists design personalized treatment regimens for their patients. The company, founded in 2008 by Harvard-trained physician Jennifer Levin Carter, formed a partnership with Boston-based Foundation Medicine to transform genomic data from individual cancer patients into treatment strategies. N-of-One has also recruited a new CEO, Christine Cournoyer, who was formerly the chief operating officer of Picis, a health IT provider that was purchased by United Healthcare in 2010.

The genesis of the idea for N-of-One came from Levin Carter, who spent 20 years as a consultant to the drug and medical device industries. During that time, she saw huge advances being made in the understanding of how specific therapies could be tailored to patients based on their genetic profiles—but little ability for physicians to actually put that information into practice. “I could see this incredible fragmentation in the system,” she says. “There was no infrastructure to allow data to flow directly to the clinic.” The problem hit close to home in 2002, when a family member and two close friends died of cancer, Levin Carter says. “Trying to help them access the treatments they needed made me even more aware of this fragmentation.”

N-of-One has spent the last few years fine-tuning its strategy, which combines data analysis with personal consulting services to help cancer patients and doctors zero in on the right treatment strategies. A new informatics product that the company launched today, called PrecisionWorks, identifies tumor biomarkers—molecular signatures that have been pinpointed as important for guiding treatment decisions—and helps patients get the proper tests to determine whether or not they carry those markers. Once the test results are in, PrecisionWorks links them with information about targeted therapies and clinical trials that are most appropriate for patients, in the context of each individual’s genetic profile and disease history.

Foundation Medicine said today it will apply PrecisionWorks to enhancing its technology, which uses DNA sequencing to analyze tumors for alterations in more than 200 cancer-related genes. The companies plans to use N-of-One’s platform to match … Next Page »

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