#InspiringIdeas: Two entrepreneurs sell their startups. One for $81m, the other for $2bn

Swiss pharmaceutical giant, Roche, has announced it will purchase Flatiron Health - a startup that analyses real-time oncology data to help cancer patients and doctors - in a $1.9 billion deal.

Flatiron is owned by entrepreneurs Zach Weinberg and Nat Turner who, in 2012, had sold their first startup to Google for a reported $81 million.

The idea for Flatiron was born when Nat’s seven-year old cousin, Brennan, was diagnosed with a rare leukemia. During Brennan’s cancer treatment journey, the entrepreneurs witnessed for the first time a fragmented and siloed healthcare system. In response, they formed Flatiron Health to pursue an audacious idea: combine some of the best minds in medicine and technology to transform the way cancer is understood and treated.

Referring to the deal under which Roche will acquire all shares of Flatiron Health, following on from an existing equity stake of 12.6%, Daniel O’Day (CEO Roche Pharmaceuticals) said: “This is an important step in our personalised healthcare strategy for Roche, as we believe that regulatory-grade real-world evidence is a key ingredient to accelerate the development of, and access to, new cancer treatments. As a leading technology company in oncology, Flatiron Health is best positioned to provide the technology and data analytics infrastructure needed not only for Roche, but for oncology research and development efforts across the entire industry. A key principle of this is to preserve Flatiron’s autonomy and their ability to continue providing their services to all existing and future partners.”

The deal is expected to close by the end of June 2018, Roche said.

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