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Syapse Raises $25M to Support New Payment Models, Infectious Disease Tools

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NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Palo Alto, California-based Syapse has raised $25 million in a Series C financing round, which it will use to expand its business including developing new applications for the Syapse Precision Medicine platform, its cloud-based software designed to help academic and community health systems practice precision medicine in routine care.

The Stanford University spinoff is also hiring more than 60 new employees bring the company's total head count to around 150 people, Syapse CEO Glenn Winokur told GenomeWeb. Most of its hiring efforts will focus on recruiting people who can build out its platform and help deploy the product at customer sites, but the company will also hire sales and marketing staff, Winokur said.

The Syapse Precision Medicine platform offers tools for integrating clinical, genomic, and other molecular data from medical records, labs, and pharmacies. It provides guidance to physicians on appropriate diagnostic and therapeutic strategies based on clinical best practices, helps them implement treatment decisions, coordinate patient care, and measure patient outcomes.

The company already offers specific applications based on the platform for oncology and for pharmacogenomics. It is now developing extensions to the software that will allow the company to target clinical customers who are interested in disease areas outside of oncology. "We are seeing a lot of movement around areas such as infectious diseases, in rare and undiagnosed diseases, and a number of other areas," Jonathan Hirsch, founder and president, told GenomeWeb. "So we are going to be expanding with several partner health systems … into those other areas, as well."

Syapse has already been working on an application for infectious diseases with the University of California, San Francisco and others as part of the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine, which it will release in the second half of 2016. The planned extension will provide customers with workflows and best practices that will enable them to practice precision medicine in the context of infectious disease. Hirsch also said that the company is developing a second application with another customer that will also be released later this year but he declined to disclose details around this particular partnership.

Syapse also plans to add support for alternative payment models for health systems who are interested in implementing cost-effective precision medicine programs, Jonathan Hirsch, founder and president, told GenomeWeb. "Many health systems see precision medicine as tied to a shift towards risk-based payment models where a health system is taking risk for the care of the patient," he explained. "It's very important to be able to help a health system understand how precision medicine is impacting payments across the board and how [they] can implement a precision medicine program and do so while really retaining and reining in costs ... we want to capitalize on that momentum and have a product offering around that."  

Ultimately, "we see a bright and large market future for precision medicine and healthcare ... in the US and abroad and we are committed to building a large enterprise software company in that space," Hirsch said. "And we are committed to being an independent company for as long as possible," he added.

Syapse has a number of partnerships in place including one with Caris Life Sciences focused on integrating Caris' Molecular Intelligence tumor profiling service with Syapse's platform to provide information to support treatment decisions. The company also has a deal that lets it combine its platform with PierianDx's Clinical Genomicist Workstation to provide a genomic testing workflow for hospitals' pathology laboratories. In 2014, Syapse signed a deal with N-of-One to make the company's oncology clinical interpretation services available through the Syapse platform.

Customers of the Sypase platform include UCSF's Genomic Medicine Initiative and its Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, who are using the software to support oncology testing. The software also underlies Intermountain Healthcare's cancer genomics clinical service and supports the Free the Data initiative, an effort that aims to gather test results from patients with mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes.

The current financing round was led by Ascension Ventures, a subsidiary of Ascension, with participation from existing investors Social Capital Partnership and Safeguard Scientifics. In 2014, Syapse raised $10 million in a Series B financing round that was led by Safeguard Scientifics with participation from Series A investor The Social+Capital Partnership.

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