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Introducing MedNetworks: New Venture Based on Social Network Analytic Technology Developed at Harvard University

Monday, August 9, 2010 Education News J E 4
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Company launches with $5 Million in Funding from Excel Venture Management

NEWTON, Mass., Aug. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- MedNetworks, Inc. today launched as a new venture based on the social network analytics research of professor Nicholas Christakis of Harvard University. Christakis is a physician and social scientist internationally renowned for his groundbreaking research on social factors influencing health. MedNetworks has an exclusive license from Harvard University to use the Christakis technology in the healthcare sector. MedNetworks also announced today that it has raised $5 million in Series A financing from Excel Venture Management.

MedNetworks offers pharmaceutical firms, health plans, corporations and hospitals a first-of-its-kind method for analyzing real-life social networks of physicians and patients and identifying patterns of influence. Using sophisticated analytics, MedNetworks maps social networks, evaluates strength and dynamic development of connections of members of these networks, ranks individual influence and performs predictive modeling. The company can apply this analysis to virtually any type of network where data allow connections between individuals.  

"For most human phenomena, the power of social influence reverberates through any network -- be it social or professional," said Christakis, scientific founder and board member of MedNetworks. "Identifying and harnessing these patterns will fundamentally change the way the healthcare industry understands its providers and patients. This knowledge will empower our clients to leverage existing data to disseminate information and focus interventions more efficiently, rapidly and effectively." Professor Christakis is co-author of "Connected" and one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people in the world in 2009.

Among physicians, for example, MedNetworks can map detailed networks in communities, evaluate the number and strength of connections between physicians, identify clusters of practitioners and discern influence patterns. By applying this analysis to large data sets, MedNetworks creates detailed, actionable information, allowing more efficient and effective use of promotional efforts.

"While the applications for the social network analysis models coming out of the Christakis Lab are extraordinarily broad, healthcare offers an excellent starting point," said Larry Miller, MedNetworks CEO. "It's a sector where data are often available, but not always used effectively. For example, we're already turning conventional wisdom on its head regarding pharmaceuticals, proving that current approaches fail to take advantage of critical information about social networks. Our analyses indicate that significant influence occurs in social networks beyond high prescribers, so there are advantages to adjusting the focus of promotion. Use of network approaches takes advantage of the 'multiplier effect,' where interventions can have dramatically greater effects as they propagate throughout the networks. The result is a much more efficient, and likely more effective, approach to promotion."

"The technology MedNetworks is using to analyze and activate social networks has tremendous power and broad applicability to help grow various businesses and enhance their profitability," said Dr. Steve Gullans of Excel Venture Management. "This approach has spawned an entire field in academia and is now poised to transform healthcare by helping reduce overall costs and improve outcomes." In connection with this financing, Dr. Gullans and Juan Enriquez will join the MedNetworks Board of Directors.

"We're delighted that this important work will be applied in the healthcare sector," said Isaac Kohlberg, senior associate provost and head of Harvard's Office of Technology Development. "As a leader in technology transfer, Harvard has an obligation, consistent with our public service mission, to help expedite the translation of new technologies to address questions in healthcare delivery."

About MedNetworks

MedNetworks offers the only fully validated and functional technology to map, analyze and activate social networks across the healthcare sector, including consumers, patients, health plan members, physicians and hospitals. This technology, based on groundbreaking research of Harvard University Professor Nicholas Christakis, enables MedNetworks' customers to dramatically increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their interventions. For more information, please visit www.mednetworks.com.

About Excel Venture Management

Excel Venture Management builds companies that apply transformative life science technologies to solve problems in healthcare and beyond. The Excel investment portfolio is balanced across healthcare IT and services, diagnostics, and medical devices, plus life science platforms that address adjacent markets including energy, chemicals, defense and agriculture. The majority of the team's prior investments, which include some of the world's premier healthcare and life science companies, are thriving and over half have achieved successful exits generating billions in value. http://www.excelvm.com.

SOURCE MedNetworks, Inc.

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