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Advanced radiation oncology for personalized care

Conceptual art copyrighted to HiEquity.ai

In the face of the global cancer crisis, Oncora Medical emerges as a beacon of innovation and hope. Cancer, one of the leading causes of death worldwide, claimed nearly 10 million lives in 2020. With breast, lung, and colorectal cancers among the most common diagnoses, the global cancer burden is on a steep rise. In 2020 alone, there were about 18.1 million new cases, and projections suggest an alarming increase to 28.4 million by 2040, according to the Global Cancer Statistics. This trend, driven largely by demographic shifts such as aging populations, especially in transitioning countries, underscores the urgent need for advanced cancer treatment and prevention strategies.

Preventative measures and early detection are key to mitigating the impact of cancer. It’s estimated that 30–50% of cancers could be prevented by avoiding known risk factors and implementing effective prevention strategies. The economic impact of this disease is substantial, highlighting the critical need for continued research, prevention, treatment, and global collaboration to tackle this health challenge.

Oncora Medical, co-founded by Christopher Berlind and David Lindsay on October 3, 2014, and headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, is at the forefront of this battle. The company specializes in integrating big data and machine learning into radiation oncology, seeking to revolutionize cancer treatment through data-driven approaches. Oncora Medical’s innovative solutions aim to enhance the precision and personalization of cancer treatment, reflecting a commitment to improving patient outcomes and advancing the field of oncology.

Pain point addressed

Oncora Medical, established in the field of radiation oncology, targets a specific challenge in cancer care: integrating big data for personalized treatment. This focus is essential in oncology, where customizing treatment plans significantly affects patient outcomes. The company’s role lies at a crucial point in the healthcare value chain, involving data collection, analysis, and application to improve radiation therapy decision-making.

Key stakeholders impacted include oncologists and radiation therapists, who benefit from streamlined data processing for better treatment planning, and patients, who receive more personalized care. Healthcare institutions gain from enhanced treatment outcomes and research capabilities, while healthcare data analysts and researchers access vital data for ongoing oncology advancements. Oncora’s approach is particularly valuable in advanced healthcare systems focused on personalized medicine, improving clinical outcomes, and increasing the efficiency of cancer treatment protocols.

Type of solution

Oncora Medical primarily offers a digital solution in the form of software for the healthcare sector, specifically targeting radiation oncology. Their solution revolves around the use of complex data and machine learning to enhance the decision-making process in cancer treatment.

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Type of input data leveraged

  • Patient medical histories: This encompasses comprehensive records of a patient’s past medical conditions, treatments received, and responses to those treatments. Such historical data provides valuable context for current treatment planning.
  • Radiation treatment data: Specific details about radiation therapy protocols previously used for similar cases, including dosage, duration, and frequency. This data helps in understanding what treatment plans have been effective in the past.
  • Imaging data: Diagnostic images like MRIs, CT scans, and X-rays are crucial in cancer treatment. This imaging data helps in visualizing the tumor’s location, size, and progression, which is vital for planning radiation therapy.
  • Biological and pathology data: Information related to the biological characteristics of the tumor, including pathology reports, helps in understanding the aggressiveness of the cancer and potential responses to treatment.
  • Patient demographics and genetics: Patient-specific information such as age, gender, genetic predispositions, and other demographic factors play a role in how individuals respond to radiation therapy.

Key technology involved

  • Machine learning/Deep learning: At the core of Oncora’s platform are machine learning and deep learning algorithms. These technologies enable the software to analyze vast amounts of medical data, learn from patterns and outcomes, and make predictive recommendations for patient treatment plans.
  • Data analytics: Oncora’s system relies heavily on big data analytics to process and interpret large datasets from various sources, including patient records, treatment histories, and research data. This involves complex data processing and analysis to extract meaningful insights.
  • Natural language processing (NLP): NLP is used to interpret and process textual data within medical records, such as doctor’s notes, pathology reports, and clinical trial documents. This technology allows the system to understand and utilize unstructured data, which is a significant component of medical records.
  • Predictive analytics: Predictive analytics in Oncora’s software uses historical data to predict future outcomes. This is particularly useful in forecasting the effectiveness of specific treatment protocols based on patient-specific factors.

Key applications of solution

Personalized treatment planning

  • Data-driven decisions: Utilizes patient data and predictive analytics to tailor cancer treatment plans to individual patient needs.
  • Treatment optimization: Helps in identifying the most effective treatment protocols based on historical outcomes and patient specifics.
  • Risk assessment: Analyzes patient data to predict potential side effects and complications, aiding in risk mitigation.

Efficient data management

  • Centralized data hub: Aggregates data from various sources (EHRs, imaging, pathology reports) into a single platform.
  • Data standardization: Ensures data consistency and interoperability across different healthcare systems.
  • Real-time access: Offers healthcare providers immediate access to patient data and insights, enhancing decision-making speed and accuracy.

Clinical decision support

  • Treatment predictions: Machine learning algorithms provide evidence-based predictions on treatment outcomes, assisting clinicians in choosing the most effective strategies.
  • Visual analytics: Advanced visualization tools convert complex data sets into understandable formats, aiding clinicians in interpreting and utilizing the data.

Implications for key stakeholders

Oncologists and radiation therapists

  • Enhanced treatment efficacy: Oncologists can offer more effective treatment by using Oncora’s predictive analytics to tailor radiation therapy. For example, a patient with a specific tumor profile might be predicted to respond better to a particular radiation dose, leading to a more targeted approach.
  • Reduced cognitive load: The software’s ability to process and analyze complex data reduces the cognitive burden on physicians, allowing them to focus more on patient care than data analysis.


  • Improved outcomes and personalization: Patients receive treatments that are more closely aligned with their individual health profiles, potentially leading to better outcomes. For instance, a patient’s unique genetic markers could be used to predict their response to certain therapies, resulting in a highly personalized treatment plan.
  • Increased engagement and satisfaction: By providing clearer communication and understanding of their treatment plan, patients can become more engaged in their healthcare journey.

Healthcare data analysts and researchers

  • Richer data for research: Oncora’s software can provide a wealth of anonymized data for research purposes, leading to better understanding and new discoveries in cancer treatment.
  • Real-world evidence generation: Analysts can use the data from Oncora’s platform to generate real-world evidence, which can be crucial for developing new treatment protocols or drug development.


  • Cost-effectiveness of treatments: Insurance providers benefit from more cost-effective treatments resulting from precision therapy, as it could lead to lower overall treatment costs.
  • Data for policy development: The data gathered can be used to inform policy decisions, such as which treatments are most effective and should be covered.

Regulatory bodies

  • Improved compliance and reporting: The software’s ability to track and report treatment outcomes aids in regulatory compliance, providing bodies like the FDA with accurate data on treatment efficacy and patient safety.

Current impact

  • Oncora Medical has made a significant impact in the field of radiation oncology through its innovative, data-driven solutions. The company’s software platforms, such as Oncora Patient Care and Oncora Analytics, are designed to improve patient care outcomes for healthcare professionals dedicated to oncology. These tools help simplify workflows, reduce documentation burdens, and optimize treatment decision-making, offering a modern and intelligent user interface for oncologists.
  • One of the notable impacts of Oncora Medical’s solutions is their ability to integrate with major Electronic Health Record (EHR) vendors, PACS vendors, cancer registries, and other software systems commonly used at cancer centers. This integration streamlines the process of reviewing and entering patient data, contributing to more efficient and effective patient care. As testified by an oncologist at a top US cancer center, the use of Oncora Patient Care has significantly reduced the time spent on entering patient data into multiple software platforms, enhancing the overall experience of being a physician.
  • Oncora Medical has formed strategic alliances with major cancer care institutions, such as the MD Anderson Cancer Center. These collaborations focus on building next-generation precision medicine software for radiation oncology, indicating the company’s commitment to advancing cancer treatment through technology.

Potential future impact

  • Oncora has formed a strategic alliance with ONCO, Inc., a leader in cancer registry software and services. This partnership aims to advance data-driven cancer care, analytics, and public health reporting. The collaboration will focus on developing advanced cancer registry, reporting, and analytics software, combining the best technology from both companies into a single platform. This new platform is expected to provide groundbreaking data automation capabilities to cancer centers, enabling comprehensive and personalized care for patients.
  • Another major development is Oncora’s partnership with Varian, a significant player in the medical device and software fields. Varian’s investment in Oncora is set to accelerate the development of precision medicine tools in radiation oncology. This partnership is particularly focused on advancing software tools, enhancing the quality of cancer care, and making it accessible regardless of patients’ locations.
  • Given Oncora’s focus on data-driven solutions and its partnerships with major industry players, there’s potential for the company to expand into other areas of oncology beyond radiation therapy. For example, integrating their predictive modeling and data analytics with chemotherapy or surgical oncology could offer even more comprehensive treatment planning options.
  • Additionally, Oncora could consider extending its technology to support personalized medicine in areas such as immunotherapy and targeted therapy, where data-driven insights are increasingly crucial.

Business model

Oncora Medical’s business model primarily operates on a B2B (Business-to-Business) basis, but it also has elements that could extend into B2B2C (Business-to-Business-to-Consumer) dynamics.

B2B model

  • Oncora primarily engages with healthcare institutions, such as hospitals and cancer treatment centers.
  • Advantages
    • Stable revenue streams: Contracts with healthcare institutions often provide stable, long-term revenue.
    • Scalability: By partnering with large institutions, Oncora can scale its solutions across extensive networks.
    • Brand credibility: Collaborations with reputable healthcare providers enhance Oncora’s brand credibility and market presence.

B2B2C model

  • While Oncora’s direct clients are healthcare providers, the end beneficiaries of its software are patients. This adds a B2B2C aspect to their model.
  • Advantages
    • Wider impact: By impacting patient care, Oncora indirectly benefits a larger consumer base, potentially driving demand from patients for their solutions in healthcare institutions.
    • Feedback loop for improvement: Patient feedback, albeit indirectly received, can inform continuous improvement and innovation in their product offerings.

Funding and key stakeholders

Oncora Medical, a prominent player in the digital health space focusing on radiation oncology, has demonstrated considerable success in securing financial backing, amassing a total of $7 million over five distinct funding rounds. The latest round, an undisclosed one, was finalized on September 15, 2019. This consistent infusion of capital underscores the confidence that a diverse array of investors have in Oncora Medical’s innovative approach and potential market impact.

The array of key investors in Oncora Medical is both notable and varied, including industry heavyweights and individual contributors alike. These investors comprise Varian, known for their work in medical devices and software, and BioAdvance, a venture capital firm with a focus on the life sciences. iSeed Ventures, an investor specializing in early-stage startups, has also contributed, along with Dorm Room Fund, a venture fund focusing on student-run companies. Individual investors like Steve Barsh and Thomas “Rock” Mackie bring their unique expertise and perspectives to the table. Additionally, Dreamit Ventures, an accelerator with a focus on startups, has played a role in backing Oncora Medical.

The involvement of these investors not only provides the financial resources necessary for Oncora Medical’s growth and development but also offers a wealth of expertise and networking opportunities. This support is instrumental as Oncora Medical continues to refine its technology, expand its reach in the market, and explore new applications and innovations in healthcare technology.

Competitive differentiator

  • Oncora Medical’s competitive differentiator lies in its approach to integrating predictive analytics with radiation oncology. While many digital health companies focus on data collection and analysis, Oncora Medical stands out due to its specific emphasis on predictive modeling for radiation treatment outcomes. This focus is not just on aggregating vast amounts of data, but on harnessing this data to predict and enhance individual patient responses to radiation therapy.
  • Oncora’s collaboration with leading cancer research centers, such as the MD Anderson Cancer Center, underscores its commitment to not only developing but also continuously refining its predictive models based on cutting-edge cancer research and clinical trials. This ongoing refinement of their models ensures that the predictions and recommendations provided by their platform are based on the most current and comprehensive data available, which is a subtle yet powerful advantage in the rapidly evolving field of cancer treatment.

Regulatory compliance

For a solution like Oncora Medical’s, which integrates big data and machine learning in radiation oncology, maintaining a robust compliance status with various regulatory and compliance requirements is crucial. These include, but are not limited to:

  • HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act): Ensuring patient data privacy and security is paramount, particularly when handling sensitive health information.
  • FDA (Food and Drug Administration) Regulations: For software solutions in healthcare, compliance with FDA regulations is essential, especially if the software is used in decision-making for patient treatments.
  • HITECH Act (Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act): This act extends HIPAA’s requirements in health information technology, emphasizing the importance of electronic health records and their secure and private use.

Partnerships and collaborations

Oncora Medical has formed strategic partnerships and collaborations that are pivotal to its growth and innovation in the oncology software and services space. Notable among these is the partnership with ONCO Inc., a market leader in oncology software and services. This partnership is focused on developing advanced cancer registry, reporting, and analytics software. The goal is to merge the best technologies from both Oncora and ONCO into a unified platform that offers groundbreaking data automation capabilities to cancer centers, thereby facilitating comprehensive and personalized patient care.

Additionally, Oncora Medical has established relationships with world-leading cancer centers across the United States. These collaborations involve the use of Oncora’s Patient Care and Oncora Analytics software, which are instrumental in enhancing patient care and research capabilities at these centers. The involvement with these top-tier cancer centers signifies Oncora’s commitment to providing high-quality, data-driven solutions in the field of oncology.

These partnerships and collaborations underscore Oncora Medical’s strategic approach to integrating innovative technology with expert clinical practice, aiming to transform the landscape of cancer treatment and research.


“I open my browser to Oncora Patient Care first thing every morning. It saves me from entering the same patient data into 6 different software platforms. Oncora has reduced the time I spend with my head in the EHR and helped bring back the joy of being a physician.” An Oncologist at a Top 5 US Cancer Center

Areas for continuous improvement

  • Expanding language support: By incorporating multilingual support in their software, Oncora could enhance accessibility for non-English-speaking patients and healthcare providers. This expansion would be especially beneficial in diverse regions or in countries where English is not the primary language.
  • Incorporating more diverse disease profiles: While Oncora currently focuses on cancer, expanding its scope to include more diverse disease profiles could significantly enhance its applicability. This could involve tailoring its predictive analytics and treatment planning tools to other chronic or complex diseases.
  • Involving more diverse patient groups in development: Enhancing the diversity of patient data used in developing their algorithms could improve the accuracy and applicability of their predictive models. This means considering variables like ethnicity, age, gender, and socio-economic background to ensure the models are robust and applicable to a wider patient demographic.
  • Customization for different healthcare systems: Tailoring their software to accommodate the nuances of different healthcare systems globally could improve its adaptability and usability. This involves understanding and integrating various healthcare protocols, insurance policies, and treatment approaches prevalent in different countries.
  • Advanced interoperability features: While Oncora’s software integrates with various healthcare systems, continuously improving its interoperability features to ensure seamless data exchange and compatibility with emerging technologies and platforms would be beneficial.




Disclaimer: Please note that the opinions, content, and analysis in my posts are entirely my own and do not reflect the views of any current or past employers or institutional affiliations. These posts, based solely on publicly available information, are for informational purposes and should not be taken as professional advice. All insights and conclusions are my viewpoints and should not be considered representative of any organizations I am or have been associated with. This content is not endorsed by, nor does it represent the stance of any affiliated entity.


Hiequity Team

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