healthy / science / startups / Tech

Peter Thiel-backed MetaMed: Brilliantly Unconventional

MetaMed Logo

Update: Since I wrote this, a posting on hackernews around MetaMed has gained a buzz, join the discussion.  MetaMed is also on twitter.

New York, NY: MetaMed, a start-up backed by PayPal co-founder and billionaire Peter Thiel and co-founded by Skype founder Jaan Tallinn, has begun accepting new patients who want to be certain they are getting the most effective and appropriate treatment.  After spending several months working closely with a few patients, researchers and founders of MetaMed are ready to disrupt the health system.  The company was given a funding last year by Thiel Foundation and has a team of medical advisers, and health researchers ready to provide on-demand medical research.

The founding team follow the streak of unconventional founders such as Todd Huffman, that have received funding in the science and health sector, by Thiel Foundation’s Breakout Labs with Metamed’s CSO, Michael Vassar,  taking the stage at  TEDxBlackRockCity (TedxBRC) in 2012 to speak about the Legend of Healthcare. In his talk, Vassar used examples of the way the healthcare system is perceived to paint an image of our detachment with the medical world.  Michael Vassar and his team at Metamed, plan to change that division between patients and medical knowledge.

There are some interesting players in the increasing space of modern ways of tackling the healthcare system.  An article today announced, Practice Fusion,  just acquired 100plus, an app that helps the general public track the health impacts of their behavior.  Also there are some other startups such as zocdoc that helps you find a doctor, and Carecloud,that keeps your health records in the cloud, both of whom have been doing fairly well. Overall, MetaMed’s views and strategy seem to still be fairly unique.

Michael Vassar, explains: “Over 30% of fatal illnesses are missed
during diagnosis, and this figure hasn’t changed since the 1930s. Cancer death rates have decreased
by less than 5% over the past 40 years.”

MetaMed’s goals are to provide personalized medical breakthroughs by leveraging data-driven research and analysis that is then customized the needs of patients and their doctors.  The company looks at patients’ entire medical health history, symptoms and test results to identify new connections to biological processes and their associated diseases.  They company has brought on various mathematicians, and data scientists to  help optimize these processes.  MetaMed is very much also trying to tackle the drug recommendations issue faced in the USA, one that Peter Thiel is personally concerned with too. “Many drugs only work on a fraction of the population, due to difference in individual biology.” said Alyssa Vance, President of MetaMed.  With their launch into the healthcare system, they hope to fix such problems using a rational approach to evaluating studies and developing treatments.  Judging by their unconventional ways thus far, they are bound to disrupt at least the mentality of many medical experts, maybe they already have.

Please visit their website  metamed.com to learn more about pricing to participate as a patient.


Watch Michael Vassar, CSO Metamed’s TEDxBRC talk of 2012:

Note: Michael Vassar happens to also be my housemate, so for that reason, I have provided comparisons to a couple other sites to keep my share unbiased.

Image of part of team MetaMed

Image of part of team MetaMed

Naureen Nayyar, @norabean

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