9. Name: PatientsLikeMe
Location: Cambridge, MA
Why it matters:
Disease-oriented consumer communities have been around since the early days of Usenet, so if all PLM did was bring them together in some cool Web 2.0 fashion, nobody would be too excited. But theyâ€™re onto something much bigger. PLM has built an open source-based Web application allowing patients to enter their symptoms and treatments and then, far more significantly, track outcomes based on a clinically-valid outcomes scale. Not only that, the site allows patients to select for other patients with a similar profile (say, same age, stage of disease, gender), see what treatments that patient has had and what their
outcomes were. Even more intriguing is that PLM, which just snagged $5 million in venture funding, then turns and sells the aggregate clinical data to researchers, hospital organizations, pharmas and others, offering a concentrated look at patients with a given disease state difficult to obtain even in academic research settings. This is heady stuff, and a model that has a chance to shift how researchers find the right parties for larger studies.
What to look for:
Right now, PLM has only rolled out one outcomes module and community, focused around ALS. Expect to see about 10 disease rollouts this year, including a multiple sclerosis and Parkinsonâ€™s communities. Will the pharmas and researchers start buying? You bet.