People, Startups

Tech maven Travis May takes the helm of Roivant’s data mining startup

Travis May, Datavant

As a founder of LiveRamp, Travis May was lionized for his role in building one of the most technologically sophisticated data onboarding outfits, which specialized in reaching a mass consumer audience. And today, he’s not only taking the lead on Roivant Sciences’ ambitious new effort to translate mass data into better drugs that can be efficiently developed, he’s investing in the company as well.

The young Travis May, recognized last year in one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 lists, is taking the helm at the fledgling Datavant, Vivek Ramaswamy’s new operation designed to build on its work in gathering data on a pipeline of shelved therapies.

Ramaswamy has created a multifaceted biotech company with a slate of startups that have been gathering assets from the bargain basements of the world’s biggest pharma companies. Its lead drug is Axovant’s Alzheimer’s med, bagged from GSK and now about to spell out Phase III data. Now Datavant will take that one more big step forward, gathering massive quantities of drug data and using artificial information tech to find more drugs for the pipeline.

From May’s perspective, healthcare data is a mess. And therein lies some big opportunities.

“As a technologist looking at the biopharma industry, it’s surprising and disconcerting how little data is shared as compared to other industries,” said May in a statement. “Biopharmaceutical data is siloed across big pharma companies, universities, healthcare consortia, CROs, research groups, hospital systems, regulatory bodies, patient registries, genomics companies, and EMRs. There is tremendous potential to apply analytics to this data more effectively, improve drug development, and ultimately save lives.”


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