Hearst has invested $75 million in Moffitt Cancer Center subsidiary M2Gen toward expanding the ORIEN oncology data sharing network. [Source: National Cancer Institute

Hearst said today it made a $75 million equity investment in M2Gen®, a health data and information subsidiary of Moffitt Cancer Center, toward an expansion of the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network (ORIEN)

ORIEN—the first major data sharing network among cancer institutions—was co-created in 2014 by M2GEN, Moffitt, and The Ohio State University. Through ORIEN, Moffitt and the University’s Comprehensive Cancer Center (OSUCCC)–Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute match patients to targeted treatments by leveraging multiple sources of data.

“Hearst’s investment will be used to scale the patient database and accelerate the structuring of the data to facilitate clinical discoveries,” M2Gen Executive Chair William Dalton said in a statement.

Hearst said its investment was designed to accelerate the discovery of cancer therapies and improve care for patients nationwide. The investment comes a month after a leadership change that saw Tim Wright succeed Dr. Dalton as CEO. Dr. Dalton moved from CEO, a position he had held since 2012, to executive chair, with a focus on promoting the growth of ORIEN as well as the science and vision of M2Gen.

M2Gen guides the operations and strategy of ORIEN, a nationwide alliance of 16 cancer centers. ORIEN members use the Total Cancer Care® Protocol, a standard system for tracking patient molecular, clinical and epidemiological data throughout their lifetimes, with the goal of using the data to develop cancer care therapies and advancements.

Through the protocol, members can access data from more than 185,000 patients participating in Total Cancer Care who have consented to the donation of samples for research—one of the world’s largest clinically annotated cancer tissue repositories, according to ORIEN.

Last year, Takeda Pharmaceutical agreed to build and leverage information generated by ORIEN’s AvatarTM Research Program, a prospective observational study enrolling patients with various cancers. The program is based on Total Cancer Care. Also in 2016, HudsonAlpha agreed to provide ORIEN with DNA sequences for 20,000 patient samples, tumor and non-tumor, by 2019, as well as whole exome sequencing, and RNA sequencing.

M2Gen connects ORIEN member institutions with industry partners on sponsored projects across the spectrum of clinical trials, including preclinical, in silico trial design, patient-trial matching and cohort surveillance studies.

“M2Gen’s unique ability to pair a person’s clinical and genetic data for analysis puts it at the leading edge of genetics-based oncology research, and we are eager to extend Hearst Health’s reach and make an important contribution to this new area of science,” added Richard P. Malloch, president of Hearst Business Media.

In addition to its publishing operations, Hearst has offered health care information solutions since 1980. The company’s Hearst Health division spans the clinical, pharmacy, home and hospice care, and health insurance markets—and includes companies such as First Databank, Zynx Health, MCG, Homecare Homebase, and MedHOK.

Also of Interest