Vivor Receives NIH/NCI Grant to Develop Patient Financial Toxicity Solutions with Leading Academic Medical Center

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The Chicago-based technology-enabled healthcare solutions company will partner with Duke Cancer Institute to develop and test a solution that addresses the financial burden of cancer care. An NIH/NCI STTR Fast-Track grant will support the project with $1.73 million in research and development funding over two-and-a-half years.

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This STTR Fast-Track grant from NCI allows us to develop technology that reduces financial toxicity by taking advantage of existing but underused resources.

Vivor, LLC (Vivor), a Chicago-based technology-enabled healthcare solutions company, has been awarded a prestigious STTR Fast-Track grant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/National Cancer Institute (NCI) to develop a solution that addresses the financial burden of cancer care. The grant offers a total of $1.73 million in funding over two-and-a-half years, beginning with $250,000 already awarded for the first six months. The research and development project funded by this grant will be conducted in partnership with the Duke Cancer Institute (DCI) in Durham, North Carolina.

Vivor (pronounced as in “survivor”) aims to reduce financial toxicity experienced by patients. In the scope of this NIH/NCI grant, Vivor will specifically address cancer care, as high financial burdens disproportionately affect cancer treatment and outcomes.

Vivor builds software solutions designed to maximize the use of financial assistance programs by patients and their healthcare providers. The company combines its unique domain expertise with cutting-edge technology to transform the way patients access and connect with financial resources. Vivor has already developed a platform called PayRx, which is currently available to hospital financial navigators and revenue cycle management (RCM) vendors. Using PayRx, Vivor’s customers assist patients in identifying the right financial resources for each unique diagnosis and treatment plan.

The grant was awarded through NIH’s Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, which provides federal funds to early-stage companies working in collaboration with research institutions.

“This STTR Fast-Track grant from NCI allows us to develop technology that reduces financial toxicity by taking advantage of existing but underused resources,” said Vivor CEO Ian Manners. “Beyond the benefit for patients, this technology will also have significant commercial potential due to its compelling value proposition for provider organizations and pharmaceutical companies.”

DCI’s participation in the grant-funded project is led by Yousuf Zafar, MD, MHS. Zafar, the project’s principal investigator, is an oncologist and associate professor of medicine and public policy who has done extensive research on the effect of financial toxicity in cancer care.

“A large proportion of cancer patients are at risk of experiencing treatment-related financial burden that worsens their quality of life and prevents them from receiving the best cancer treatment possible,” said Zafar. “This project will explore ways that could potentially reduce the burdens of cancer and improve the quality of care delivery.”

In Phase I of the project Vivor will develop a web-based tool that allows patients to quickly and accurately identify financial assistance resources that fit their unique situations. The tool will undergo preliminary testing by Zafar’s team at DCI.

In Phase II, Vivor will extend the new product into a fully-featured mobile app that empowers patients to estimate and plan their expenses during treatment, identify assistance programs, and coordinate with a financial counselor to secure financial assistance. A randomized, controlled trial at DCI will measure the product’s ability to reduce patient out-of-pocket costs, as well as the impact on patients’ knowledge of financial resources, quality of life, and subjective financial distress.

While millions of Americans have gained health insurance coverage over the past several years, many people still face unaffordable out-of-pocket costs following a cancer diagnosis. The growth of this “underinsured” population has contributed to patients’ considerable financial distress during cancer treatment. “We are honored that the NIH believes in our research and in the incredible opportunity it presents to address this growing problem,” says Manners.

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Research discussed in this release is supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R42CA210699. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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Melissa Thompson
Vivor
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Ian Manners
Vivor
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since: 10/2014
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