By: Jessica Bartlett
Cambridge-based patient network PatientsLikeMe has raised $100 million in a recent funding round, and is participating is a multi-company initiative to develop a deeper understanding of disease.
The equity funding comes courtesy of Jun Wang, founder of digital life company iCarbonX and the Bejing Genomics Institute, and existing investor Invus LP. Wang’s invested a total of $400 million investment split between six companies. The goal is to integrate PatientsLikeMe into a newly developed alliance of companies (the other five participants are SomaLogic, HealthTell, AOBiome, GALT, Imagu and Robustnique) all seeking to understand the factors that exacerbate disease, or optimize health.
The companies aim to merge genetic, biological and patient-generated data with sequencing and artificial intelligence.
“The ecosystem we’re creating will connect biology, experience and AI so that we can learn how diseases manifest in the body over time, and how our everyday actions contribute to their progression,” Wang said in a release. “PatientsLikeMe will be at the core of this ecosystem as we digitize, analyze and share insights and knowledge that can improve lives.”
PatientsLikeMe was founded in 2004 and has raised $27 million to date in four rounds of investment.
In addition to participating in a larger initiative, PatientsLikeMe said it will use the funding to expand its platform, which brings patients together on a social media-like site to further education, develop community and empower patients.
To date, over 500,000 patients have been able to describe their experiences on the platform, and the platform has aggregated that data to better understand disease, working with clinicians to improve treatments and publishing more than 100 research studies.
“We have received the money and will use the proceeds to rapidly grow our member base, expand the PatientsLikeMe platform, and enrich the data and tools that patients and partners use to get a deeper understanding of personal and human health," said PatientsLikeMe CEO Martin Coulter, in an email.