Ottawa Startup Raises $3.5 Million Seed Round for Anonymous Patient Data Solution

Ottawa’s Privacy Analytics has raised $3.5 million in venture capital.

The round was led by Vanedge Capital of Vancouver with participation from the Business Development Bank of Canada and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research — both of which had invested earlier as well.

Privacy Analytics is a leading provider of data anonymization solutions, which makes tough-to-access patient data (that researchers need and want) anonymous, and thus accessible under privacy laws.

As the Ottawa Citzen‘s James Bagnall put it much better than I’m able to, Privacy Analytics’ solution “scores the potential risk of re-identifying individuals in data that is shared with others. The software, dubbed Parat, incorporates the score in the process of making the data anonymous.”

“Parat allows pharmaceutical firms and other health industry organizations to hunt for new patterns and product ideas by sifting through reams of disguised patient records.  The trick is to make the records anonymous in a manner that does not distort the underlying relationships and patterns associated with analyzing the data. Parat claims to have mastered this difficult feat,” wrote Bagnall.

The anonymized data can also be used for secondary purposes, such as research, quality and safety improvement, public health, payment, certification or accreditation, software testing and other business applications with an automated, enterprise-standard process that saves substantial time and money.

The startup was born seven years ago as a research project at the University of Ottawa, by associate professor Khaled El Emam. The Egyptian entrepreneur was educated at the University of London as well as McGill University. At the University of London, El Emam helped found “Right Information Systems,” which was a data-modelling software company that was acquired for $8 million in 1997 by Ottawa-based Cognos Inc.

The new funds will be used to increase Privacy Analytics sales and marketing efforts, as well as bolster development of its PARAT software product line.

“We are thrilled to be working with Paul and Vanedge, whose team brings deep expertise to help our company grow and scale,” said El Emam. “The funding enables us to accelerate building richer functionality into our PARAT product line, while expanding our efforts to enable companies to manage and govern the privacy and sharing of big data in healthcare and financial sectors.”

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