Pharma data miner Treato scores $14.5M

By Neil Versel

Treato PharmaTreato, an Israeli company that scours thousands of social media sites to glean patient insights about pharmaceuticals and treatments, has landed $14.5 million in new capital. OrbiMed Israel Partners and New Leaf Venture Partners led the round of funding, which also included previous investors Reed Elsevier Ventures and Western Technology Investments, the company says.

Treato, of Yehud, Israel, will use the money to set up a US office in New York and to expand its product offering, according to CEO Ido Hadari. "We really want to expand our presence in the US," Hadari told MobiHealthNews. The company currently has one stateside sales representative, he added.

The new investment also will help the company build out its product, perhaps around therapeutic areas rather than just specific drugs, and to expand its reach globally, Hadari said.

Launched about a year and a half ago, Treato has developed an algorithm to search across social media sites large and small, from Facebook on down to local online communities for patients with specific medical conditions, to ascertain what people are saying about medications. Treato looks for patterns that could signify adverse reactions to drugs, off-label uses, reasons why people switch from one medication to another and other bits of intelligence.

The algorithm matches patient discussions to clinically validated information sources to help people understand how drugs actually work and serve as an early warning to many constituencies about potentially harmful side effects.

"It's kind of the next generation of patient intelligence," Hadari told MobiHealthNews. "It's about applying advanced analytics to understanding what patients are really saying."

To date, the Treato platform has analyzed 1.3 billion posts from 23 million people, covering 11,000 drugs and 13,000 conditions, according to the company. The free, advertising-free site gets more than 100,000 hits a day from patients, healthcare professionals, payers and pharma representatives.

Treato makes its money from a professional version, Treato Pharma, which has been live since October, providing in-depth and specialized metrics – such as what people eat when taking certain medications – for pharmaceutical marketing and safety teams. "Pharma companies have the opportunity to identify problems and threats and risks," Hadari said.