McKesson Forms Joint Venture with HCA Healthcare to Fight Cancer

Separate from the joint venture deal, McKesson will acquire Genospace, a personalized precision medicine platform that’s part of HCA’s research institute.

Two giants in their industry are teaming up to accelerate cancer research.

A research arm of Irving-based pharmaceutical distributor and health care services firm McKesson is forming a joint venture alongside a similar subsidiary of Nashville’s HCA Healthcare in a move the companies say will create a fully integrated research organization focused on oncology.

McKesson CEO Brian Tyler [Courtesy photo]

“This new joint venture is an important step forward in increasing access to clinical trials, particularly within the community setting, where the majority of all cancer patients are initially treated,” said Brian Tyler, McKesson CEO, in a statement.

Expanding clinical trial research

Combining expertise from McKesson’s US Oncology Research, a part of the company’s US Oncology Network, and HCA’s Sarah Cannon Research Institute, the joint venture is looking to broaden clinical research by expanding access to clinical trials, in an effort to fuel drug development. By accessing both companies’ resources, they say it will create an organization with a larger research network with an increased portfolio of clinical trials in the pipeline, in addition to access to more data and analytics in the space.

Once the joint venture deal closes later this year, McKesson will own 51% of the entity, giving it operating control. With the aim of enhancing the companies’ care offerings, the two said their research arms are not part of the transaction and will continue to operate independently of the joint venture.

McKesson acquires precision medicine platform

At the same time, though also separate from the joint venture deal, McKesson will acquire Genospace, a personalized precision medicine platform that’s part of HCA’s research institute. The data and analytics tool, which helps match patients to the best clinical trials or drug therapies, will help power the newly formed joint venture, in addition to being offered to McKesson’s partner providers.

“The joint venture directly aligns with McKesson’s strategic growth priorities by further expanding our differentiated oncology ecosystem and improving the value proposition for provider and biopharma partners,” Tyler said.

Joint venture unveils leadership

With a board made up for representatives from both McKesson and HCA, the joint venture will be led by CEO Dee Anna Smith and President Dr. Howard Burris, III. Both Smith and Burris come from HCA’s cancer institute, with Smith holding a similar title and Burris serving most recently as the organization’s executive director of drug development. Other leaders include USOR’s Dr. Robert Coleman, who will serve as chief medical officer, and SCRI’s Dr. David Spigel, who takes on the role of chief scientific officer—both hold the chief scientific officer title at their respective organizations.

“Clinical research and partnerships are fundamental to how we address our communities’ most pressing healthcare needs,” said Sam Hazen, HCA Healthcare CEO, in a statement. “We believe this joint venture with McKesson, which unifies our oncology research experts, will promote the development of individualized therapies and provide more opportunities for cancer patients to receive new treatments.”

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