Cigna leads $23M investment in GNS Healthcare’s AI

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Cigna Ventures is leading a $23 million investment in GNS Healthcare, a specialized artificial intelligence company.

Cigna Ventures is a strategic corporate venture capital partner and wholly owned indirect subsidiary of Cigna.

Joining the funding round were Amgen Ventures, Celgene, Echo Health Ventures, Alexandria Venture Investments, as well as former Caesar’s CEO and Aetna Division President Gary Loveman. The investment will back GNS and Cigna’s partnership to combine respective data, advanced analytics and machine learning to optimize Cigna’s condition-specific clinical care programs, the companies said. Oncology will be the first area of focus.

“We are thrilled to have Cigna contribute to our next phase of growth,” said Colin Hill, chairman, CEO and co-founder of GNS Healthcare. “Cigna is the perfect complement to our cadre of leading biopharma companies and health plan partners committed to improving patient outcomes through causal AI and the precision healthcare it enables.”

GNS transforms massive and diverse data streams to precisely match therapeutics, procedures, and care management interventions to individuals, thus improving health outcomes and saving money, says GNS.

The GNS causal learning and simulation platform—called REFS (Reverse Engineering and Forward Simulation)—analyzes data sets beyond correlation, inferring causal mechanisms between variables to answer questions that include: “How will the patient respond to this treatment?” and “What if we choose one intervention over another?”

Cigna and GNS contend that REFS is “the only commercially available platform that infers causal mechanisms from patient data at scale from traditional healthcare and emerging data sources to bring the promise of precision medicine within reach.”

“The latest funding round will enable Cigna and others to deliver on increasing consumer demand for personalization in new and more effective ways,” the companies said.

Cigna launched Cigna Ventures last September to back new and innovative business models across analytics, digital health, care delivery and care management. The funding of GNS is the first analytics-focused investment CV has announced since the fund launched, according to Cigna.

“Cigna is committed to improving the total health and well-being of our customers – and the personalized clinical care interventions that we expect GNS to facilitate will play a huge role in achieving those improvements,” said Tom Richards, global lead of strategy and business development at Cigna. “GNS aligns with our vision and together we can super-charge our advanced analytics capabilities and provide even deeper, more predictable insights that will further enhance customer access to the highest quality treatment and care, in the preferred and appropriate place, at the right time.”

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