RDMD raises $3M to tackle rare diseases with personal EHRs

By Dave Muoio
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RDMD, a Bay Area startup leveraging personal health records to accelerate clinical research of rare diseases, has raised $3 million in seed funding. Support for the company was led by Lux Capital, with participation from Village Global, First Round’s Healthcare Co-Op, Garuda, Shasta Ventures, and other unnamed angel investors.

According to the announcement, the new funding will be directed toward platform development, leadership hires, potential research partnerships, and expansions into new diseases.

“Unlike the more well-resourced conditions like cancer and diabetes, rare diseases suffer from a lack of data infrastructure. As a result, many programs fail to even get off the ground,” Adam Goulburn, general partner of Lux Capital, said in a statement. "RDMD represents a central place dedicated specifically to the problems in rare disease, where we aim to create fertile ground for therapeutic programs.”

RDMD’s platform extracts and analyzes data from EHRs to conduct rapid retrospective studies and generate new real-world data. These data are housed in RDMD’s regulatory-compliant proprietary database, according to the company, and can be used by partnering biopharmaceuticals or research groups to inform the design of future clinical trials, or support a product’s regulatory submission.

In addition, the company offers a patient-facing EHR app. Along with helping patients manage their personal records, the app allows users to share their information with their care provider and, with permission, securely release their de-identified data to researchers investigating their rare disease.

“RDMD was born out of my own personal journey with a rare disease called neurofibromatosis type 2, a disease that affects only one in 30,000 people. I’ve been developing technology products my entire life, and I wondered if we could marry a powerful data and analytics platform with patient data to gain insights into rare diseases,” Onno Faber, founder, chairman, and head of product for RDMD, said in a statement. “We have since pioneered the development of a powerful platform that leverages deep data insights to empower rare disease research and drug development, as well as an application that allows patients to take the management of their disease into their own hands. This financing enables us to expand our efforts and tailor our approach for the needs of any rare condition, providing real value for both patients and drug developers.”

RDMD has partnerships with National Cancer Institute researchers as well as the Children’s Tumor Foundation. The company’s website is currently accepting patient sign ups for neurofibromatosis type 1, neurofibromatosis type 2, and Schwannomatosis, with other rare neurological and inherited metabolic diseases planned for the future.

“To date, we have enrolled more than 150 patients with neurofibromatosis to use our application. Patients have already been able to connect with or get second opinions from top doctors from across the country, coordinate ongoing care and contribute their de-identified data to research their condition,” Nancy Yu, CEO of RDMD, said in a statement. “It normally takes millions of dollars over several years to gather this type of data in rare diseases. For the first time, we have a centralized and consented set of data for use in translational research, for a fraction of the time and cost.”

Albeit more niche, RDMD’s EHR data-focused approach to clinical research is similar to the model Flatiron Health laid out for oncology. The latter was founded in 2012 by former Google employees Nat Turner, CEO, and Zach Weinberg, president and COO, and earlier this year was acquired by Roche for a whopping $1.9 billion.

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