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Published on August 11, 2021

Avera Health and Sema4 Announce Collaboration to Advance Precision Oncology Care

Building on its commitment to genomic research and health care innovations, Avera Health will utilize Sema4’s health intelligence platform to further advance cancer care

Avera Health, an integrated regional health care system that serves 300 locations across the Upper Midwest, and Sema4, a patient-centered health intelligence company, today announced a new collaboration launching a precision medicine initiative. This initiative will initially focus on advancing oncology care, enabling Avera Health’s providers and patients to benefit from data-driven insights that inform targeted cancer treatments.

Avera Cancer Institute has had a robust precision oncology program for several years in which the patient’s tumor has been genetically sequenced to guide individualized cancer treatment. This collaboration will take that a step further by leveraging Centrellis®, Sema4’s health intelligence platform, to curate, structure and integrate clinical and genomic data to support both cancer research and clinical care at Avera Health. Sema4 will deliver predictive disease network models and clinically actionable insights, empowering Avera Health’s providers to further improve the prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer for their patients. Sema4 will also offer digital tools, which give Avera Health’s providers the ability to easily search for cohorts of patients based on clinical criteria, view a patient’s treatment history that is contained in the curated data as an interactive timeline, and more systematically match patients to clinical trials.

“Avera Health has a longstanding commitment to genomics and personalized medicine, and a forward- thinking approach to understand the critical role it plays in generating better health outcomes,” said John Lee, MD, FACS, Chief Medical Officer for Cancer Research at the Avera Cancer Institute. “Our collaboration with Sema4, and the resulting access to curated and structured real-time oncology data, will allow our providers to leverage cutting-edge tools that will improve the delivery and quality of cancer care. This access to increasingly rich clinical data throughout the patient journey will also accelerate critical, lifesaving treatment options.”

The collaboration between Avera Health and Sema4 significantly builds upon Avera Health’s existing clinical genomic offerings, led by the Molecular and Experimental Medicine team, Avera Institute for Human Genetics, the Avera Cancer Research team, and its dedicated physicians and genetic counseling clinical team. “Avera’s providers and researchers have worked tirelessly to develop and collaborate with like-minded partners on innovative clinical trials and strategies to provide the right drugs to each and every patient that entrusts us with their care,” said Casey Williams, PharmD, Chief Scientific Officer for Cancer Research at Avera Health. “In time, thousands of patients across our six cancer centers, 40 outreach sites, and 37 hospitals will have access to the insights and offerings generated from this collaboration.”

“Avera Health is an outstanding health system with a proven history of excellence and innovation in personalized care and research,” said Michelle Zimmerman, JD, MBA, General Manager of Oncology Solutions and Emerging Markets at Sema4. “We are pleased to use our deep expertise in artificial intelligence, data science, and genomic sequencing to further enable precision oncology care for Avera Health’s patients. We look forward to a successful, wide-ranging collaboration advancing numerous clinical and research initiatives across the Avera Health system.”

As part of their work together, Avera Health will also utilize Sema4’s industry-leading, information-driven genomic solutions. More Avera patients will be able to receive genomic testing earlier in their disease timeline to help oncologists choose the best chemotherapy treatment regimens, based on the individual’s genomic data and genetic mutations that have taken place within the tumor, and the individual’s hereditary risks. They will have access to Sema4 Signal Whole Exome Sequencing (WES), Whole Transcriptome Sequencing (WTS), and Hereditary Cancer testing to provide clinically actionable information about a broad range of genomic variants across the tumor and germline.

“Our collaboration with Avera Health will accelerate discoveries which help oncologists provide optimized care to individual cancer patients in real time,” said William K. Oh, MD, Chief Medical Science Officer at Sema4. “Avera Health shares our vision to use clinicogenomic data to improve patient’s lives.”

About the Avera Health

The Avera Health system has over 19,000 employees and physicians, serving more than 300 locations and 100 communities in a five-state region. Our ministry, our people and our superior value distinguish Avera. We carry on the health care legacy of the Benedictine and Presentation Sisters, delivering care in an environment guided by our values of compassion, hospitality and stewardship. For more information about Avera, visit our website at Learn more in our newsroom.

About Sema4

Sema4 is a patient-centered health intelligence company dedicated to advancing healthcare through data-driven insights. Sema4 is transforming healthcare by applying AI and machine learning to multidimensional, longitudinal clinical and genomic data to build dynamic models of human health and defining optimal, individualized health trajectories. Centrellis®, our innovative health intelligence platform, is enabling us to generate a more complete understanding of disease and wellness and to provide science-driven solutions to the most pressing medical needs. Sema4 believes that patients should be treated as partners, and that data should be shared for the benefit of all. For more information, please visit and connect with Sema4 on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.

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