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CD&R, Merck GHI, and McKesson Ventures invest in M2GEN

Oncology data and informatics platform M2GEN has secured a significant new investment by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (CD&R) funds, the Merck Global Health Innovation Fund (Merck GHI), and McKesson Ventures. The financial terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

Merck GHI and McKesson Ventures invested alongside CD&R funds, collectively now the company’s largest shareholder. Existing shareholders Moffitt Cancer Center, Hearst Healthcare, and The Ohio State University Foundation continue to hold a significant minority interest M2GEN. Proceeds from the transaction are expected to accelerate growth of M2GEN’s consented, linked clinical and genomic data asset and advance the technology and informatics capabilities of the company. In conjunction with the recapitalisation, Sandra E Peterson, CD&R Operating Partner and former Group Worldwide Chairman of Johnson & Johnson, has assumed the role of Chair of the M2GEN board.

In conjunction with the transaction, M2GEN will bolster its existing senior management team led by President and CEO Helge Bastian, PhD, with two experienced executive hires: Todd Johnson, MD, most recently Senior Vice President of Life Sciences Commercialisation and Clinical Research Groups at Optum, as Chief Growth Officer, and Wilf Russell, a seasoned technology leader with experience from companies including Volvo, Nike, and Microsoft, as Chief Technology Officer.

M2GEN runs one the world’s largest observational research studies in cancer, which tracks patients throughout their lifetime, links longitudinal clinical data with molecular information, and enables a deeper understanding of a patient’s disease. M2GEN has established one of the largest and most comprehensive linked clinical and genomic databases in the country, empowering innovative, collaborative cancer research and supporting the development of novel oncology drugs by its biopharmaceutical partners.

M2GEN’s data platform includes more than 300,000 patients across its alliance of leading cancer research centres, known as the Oncology Research Information Exchange Network (ORIEN). ORIEN members benefit through collaborative research and shared data; M2GEN’s biopharmaceutical partners benefit through access to the network and a dataset that supports clinical trial design, patient recruiting and new therapy development; and the ultimate beneficiaries are patients, as this process informs new drug treatment options.

“M2GEN is purpose-driven and patient-centric, and we believe it will impact healthcare for the next generation by connecting patients, providers, researchers, and pharma R&D to fundamentally change the way cancer is studied and treated,” says Sarah Kim, CD&R Partner. “CD&R has spent significant time evaluating the real-world data market within pharma services and sees a tremendous opportunity to join forces with an exceptional group of shareholders to support M2GEN’s next phase of growth, drive operational excellence, and further its mission to connect patients to a cure by accelerating the discovery, development and delivery of more personalised therapies.”

“Merck GHI closely tracked M2GEN for many years through our research colleagues’ collaborations first with Moffitt Cancer Center and then with M2GEN’s spin-out from Moffitt,” says David M Rubin, PhD, Managing Director, Merck GHI. “This syndicated investment will support the build of scaled resources that have the potential to enable the development of new medicines and precision cancer care.”

“McKesson Ventures is proud to support M2GEN’s leading and comprehensive linked clinical and genomic data platform. Our investment directly reflects McKesson’s broader commitment to advance and improve community oncology care through The US Oncology Network and Ontada, our innovative oncology technology and insights business,” says Dave Schulte, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, McKesson Ventures.

Ropes & Gray LLP acted as legal advisor to CD&R in connection with the transaction. Perella Weinberg Partners LP served as exclusive financial advisor and Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP acted as legal advisor to M2GEN. Green Shoots Consulting, LLC served as advisor and McDermott Will & Emery LLP acted as legal advisor to Merck GHI.

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