CollabRx Partners with Medical News Site to Launch Molecular Oncology Mobile App

By Uduak Grace Thomas

Last week, CollabRx announced that it is collaborating with MedPage Today, the medical news arm of digital health and wellness firm Everyday Health, to develop a mobile application that will provide information about molecular testing and therapy development first to oncologists and pathologists and eventually patients.

According to the company, the app, which is scheduled for release later this year, will focus on the molecular aspects of laboratory testing and therapy development, and over time will serve as a comprehensive point-of-care resource for personalized cancer treatment planning for both physicians and patients.

It will combine CollabRx’s existing products and services with relevant medical news provided by MedPage Today. CollabRx currently offers a series of web-based applications for oncology called Therapy Finders that help clinicians and patients select appropriate treatments. So far it has created apps for colorectal cancer, melanoma, and lung cancer, and it is working on one for prostate cancer (BI 2/22/2013). Earlier this month, it launched a new service that will provide variant interpretation services to the clinical laboratory market (BI 8/9/2013).

Under the terms of the agreement, CollabRx will provide decision support, expert systems, and electronic reference tools, while MedPage Today will develop and promote the app to its audience. This arrangement will replace an existing one between the parties in which a version of CollabRx’s Therapy Finder app was provided to physicians by MedPage Today.

When the first version of the app launches later this year, it will contain Therapy Finder tools for multiple cancer types and the biographical information of 75 clinical practitioners who helped develop them and targeted news from MedPage Today, Gavin Gordon, CollabRx’s vice president of business development and strategic alliances, told BioInform in an email.

During a conference call to discuss the company’s Q1 2014 earnings, Thomas Mika, CollabRx chairman and CEO, mentioned additional capabilities to be included in future versions of the app, such as a biomarker drug reference tool, a “meet the experts” feature, and a diagnostic test reference tool.

Mika also said that app revenues from all sources — including sponsorships, advertising, and data analytics — will be shared equally between CollabRx and Everyday Health “with each company bearing its own costs for the development, marketing, and sales of the app and related products.” He did not provide specific guidance about the revenue implications of the app, but in response to one analyst’s question on the subject stated that the company expects it to start out “quite large.”

Also, addressing a question about direct competition for the new app, Mika said that current mobile oncology apps, available from Apple’s iTunes store for instance, are “at a very basic level” and do not provide the kind of interactivity and expert input that CollabRx’s app will offer. Also, there are “none to my knowledge that focus at all on molecular oncology,” he said.

Q1 2014 Summary

CollabRx last week reported a net loss of $797,000, or $0.41 per share, for the first quarter of fiscal year 2014, compared to a net loss of $679,000, or $0.40 per share, for the same period in the prior fiscal year.

Total revenue for the quarter was $270,000 with the entire amount representing the company’s commercialization of its content services and online media products. Revenue for the same quarter of the prior year was $25,000.

Operating expenses totaled $961,000 for the quarter, of which $143,000 was attributed to non-cash charges for depreciation, amortization, and stock compensation expense. For Q1 last year the company recorded expenses of $712,000, of which $57,000 was attributed to non-cash charges.

Moving forward, the company expects its quarterly cash operating expenses to range from $750,000 to $1 million. It also expects its operating expenses in near-term quarters to be materially offset by revenue both from agreements with its current partners and customers, as well as new agreements.

CollabRx ended the quarter with about $3.4 million in cash and cash equivalents.

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