Former Apple health director's cancer startup raises $17M

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Ciitizen, a healthcare data startup co-founded by ex-Apple lead Anil Sethi, raised $17 million in its most recent funding round — with input from another tech giant.

Mr. Sethi's last company, a personal health records platform called Gliimpse, was acquired by Apple for its health records project in 2016. At that time Mr. Sethi joined Apple as director of the Cupertino, Calif.-based iPhone maker's healthcare team.

Mr. Sethi's goal for Ciitizen, which he launched after leaving Apple in 2017, is to give cancer patients control over their own healthcare data, including genomics and lab results. His hope is that by easing the process for collecting and sharing data with physicians and researchers, patients will be armed with tools to find relevant clinical trials and treatment options.

Ciitizen plans to launch its data platform later this year.

"If [a patient's] health information is spread across the opposite ends of the galaxy, we can create a patient-mediated wormhole that connects all this data together," said Mr. Sethi, who now serves as the startup's CEO, during an interview with CNBC last year.

The $17 million in financing — which Ciitizen will put toward developing and commercializing its data platform — was led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. Other investors included Alphabet's life sciences arm Verily and venture fund Section 32.

Vijay Pande, PhD, general partner of Andreessen Horowitz's bio fund, will join Ciitizen's board of directors as part of the financing effort. Andy Harrison, head of business and corporate development at Verily, and Michael Pellini, MD, managing partner at Section 32, will also join the board as observers.

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