Statfinn: everything revolves around data

Statfinn is an expert in healthcare data analytics – it works with multiple sources of data to create hybrid solutions.

“The company was founded in 2005 by professor Pasi Korhonen, adjunct professor of biostatistics at the University of Turku, and it has been growing ever since. The first real-world-evidence (RWE) study was conducted in 2009. In 2010 EPID Research was founded. Statfinn is focused on clinical developments, whereas EPID Research was focused on the post-approval phase, using register-based data. In January 2017 we merged the companies as we both provide health care data analytics, but we still use dual brands,” says Eero Mertano, CEO of StatFinn. “It was the entrepreneurial mind of Pasi that enabled us to offer statistical analytical services for the pharma industry. He worked with pharma companies and as a professor and academic at the University of Turku,” he explains. Korhonen is CSO of StatFinn and chairman of the board of directors.

StatFinn offers a range of services. “We offer many statistics and programming services, data management, study design and coordination services, pharmaco-epidemiology, health economics and literature reviews,” Mertano points out.

We are living in a world where a paradigm shift is taking place: we talk about how health care is managed in general, due to the data revolution.

“We are living in a world where a paradigm shift is taking place: we talk about how health care is managed in general, due to the data revolution. The barrier between primary data collection in clinical trials and the use of register data is getting smaller. The need to combine the data from really different sources – from clinical trials, primary data collection sources and registers – is growing and that is the reason we put this all together. That is also one differentiating factor – we can provide really unique and innovative study designs,” he says.

In the beginning of last year, the two companies merged to offer services from the pre-clinical to the clinical and post-approval phase. “The main driver was the need for hybrid solutions. There is a data revolution in healthcare, and the need for different kinds of data to be combined and provided safely, efficiently and cost-effectively exists both for payers and regulators. In the future clients will not need to conduct clinical trials and RWE separately like today, but they will need expert companies who can analyse all different kinds of data sources,” explains Mertano.

The main clients for StatFinn are pharma companies – big pharma, smaller companies and innovative biotech as well. When speaking of the distinctiveness of StatFinn, Mertano mentions that with three business units the company provides different kinds of services. “We have expert services which provide statistics and programming for big pharma, then there is the FTE-based business model and our clinical trial services which provides data management and data analytics services for mid-sized and small pharma, and then we have the RWE business unit providing RWE studies for all kinds of pharma companies,” he says.

Hybrid and innovative solutions

The key factor which distinguishes the company is work with multiple sources of data. “We have clinical trial data as well as national registries, quality registers, hospital records, laboratory results and biobanks. Of course, publications, research cohorts, insurance claims databases and GP data as well,” he says.

“We provide hybrid solutions and innovative designs to capture or utilize both primary and secondary data in a single study. We have a very strong analytical and statistical background and biostatistical expertise, so we are really good at analytics. I would also mention the close collaboration with our former clients – we don’t just provide basic services, but we work with them, try to understand their needs and develop new and innovative solutions around their needs,” says Mertano.

“Most of our sales come from repeat sales, and we are proud of that. We are in constant contact with clients, and then they contact us when they have a particular need, for expert services, a clinical trial, RWE or hybrid services,” he adds.

“StatFinn has offices in four countries. We have 90 people at the moment and in next couple of years we will probably double that amount. At the end of the day we are working with data, but this is all about working with people. The Estonian health cluster is also an advantage as we grow, to potentially find partners for collaboration and explore whether there are some marketing activities that could be beneficial for us,” says Mertano.

The share of export for StatFinn is nearly 100% – all the clients are global. The sales numbers have grown quite nicely – in previous year it was 7 million euros, and this year StatFinn is targeting 10 million euros in sales.

“We see that the need for this kind of big data analytics is growing all the time. The sector is constantly transforming and you have to be innovative,” says Mertano.