by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | February 03, 2021
Breast care software company Volpara Health has acquired CRA Health, a breast cancer risk assessment company for $22 million.
Volpara has paid $18 million upfront for all outstanding equity of CRA, which is a spinoff from Massachusetts General Hospital — a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital. It will pay another $4 million upon reaching key performance targets over the next 18 months.
“CRA is a leading provider of risk assessment tools within major EHR systems and has integrations already established with the main genetics companies. CRA brings world-class knowledge about risk and genetics. CRA will accelerate us on our mission to save families from cancer by preventing advanced stage breast cancer,” said Dr. Ralph Highnam, Group CEO of Volpara, in a statement.
The integration of CRA’s cloud-based software with EHR systems enables it to gather and share patient information, including a patient’s breast density. It also returns the risk of breast cancer along with appropriate recommendations, including whether additional imaging or genetic testing is needed, based on established guidelines. In addition, it has electronic interfaces established with all major genetics companies.
The company has collaborated with Volpara on various past endeavors, including the continuing UK PROCAS project for personalized breast care. The two together plan to identify and personalize breast care for more high-risk women in all care settings, including OB-GYN, primary care providers, oncologist specialists and breast centers.
The timing of the acquisition coincides with more recommendations being made for U.S. women to undergo risk assessments, including genetic testing in some cases, in addition to traditional mammography screening. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control, for instance, recently launched a marketing campaign promoting risk and genetics testing. The American College of Radiology and other groups are also encouraging risk assessment at age 30 to establish screening protocols, and many insurers are opening up access to such evaluations by reimbursing for MR and genetic testing for high-risk women.
These recommendations align with the transition to value-based care, with the U.S. government including breast cancer risk assessment as a key quality metric that can contribute to a positive adjustment to annual Medicare reimbursement in its Merit-based Incentive Payment System.
In addition, CRA and Volpara each experienced strong growth despite the pandemic, indicating the growing use of evidence to justify the need for genetic testing and additional imaging.
"With the tailwinds behind cancer risk assessment and ensuring all women get the right screening at the right time building globally, we are delighted to join Volpara, a company that is substantially larger and enjoys the most scientifically-validated technology platform in the breast screening industry,” said Chester Black, outgoing chair of CRA, in a statement.
Volpara Health earned $13.5 million in sales for the third quarter of 2020, its largest-ever performance for that quarter, and up 20% from the previous corresponding period. Profits were driven by increasing demand for the Volpara Health Platform. Powering the platform is Volpara Science, which consists of clinically validated algorithms that use AI to assess breast tissue composition and imaging quality. Volpara Science is used in more than 27% of all breast centers in the U.S. to optimize mammography workflow and deliver personalized care.