Highland’s Graham Gardner Takes New Shot at Health IT Startup with Kyruus

Xconomy Boston — 

Boston has a new health IT startup in its midst. Kyruus has quietly formed in the hub and, according to its website, brings “transparency, credibility, and efficiency to physician-industry engagements.”

The startup’s co-founders include Graham Gardner, a principal at Highland Capital Partners in Lexington, MA, and Julie Yoo, an early employee of one of Gardner’s previous companies, Generation Health. Gardner, whose Highland profile says he is the new startup’s CEO, declined requests to be interviewed about Kyruus. He acknowledged in an e-mail last night that his venture firm is supporting the startup, but to what extent he did not say.

While there are scant details on Kyruus, Gardner and Yoo have come to this new company with at least one prior success in the startup game. They were both behind Generation Health, a company incubated at Highland’s offices, which gave its venture backer a nice return in late 2009 when the pharmacy giant CVS Caremark (NYSE:CVS) bought a majority stake in the provider of genetic testing benefits management. Highland had been the only venture investor in the Upper Saddle River, NJ-based firm.

I wrote this piece on Generation Health before CVS scooped up most of the company in December 2009.

Gardner, a physician by training, is a member of the healthcare team at Highland and served as co-founder and chief medical officer of Generation Health. He also co-founded SynapDx, a venture-backed firm that is developing a blood-based test for early detection of autism. At Highland, he works with general partner and co-founder Bob Higgins, who invested in Generation Health on behalf of the firm. Higgins also declined to be interviewed for this story.

Based on what it says on its website, Kyruus appears to want to help healthcare companies make inroads with physicians (those prized prescription writers and medical product buyers) even though it’s not so clear how the firm plans to do this. Its website says: “Kyruus brings transparency, credibility, and efficiency to physician-industry engagements through data-driven products based on its underlying profiling and analytics platform.”

Yoo, an MIT alum, was vice president of clinical product strategy at Generation Health, according to her LinkedIn profile. Her online profile says she is now chief product officer and co-founder of Kyruus.

There’s been a lot of activity among health IT firms in the Boston area that are trying to help companies sell products and services to physicians. At Newton, MA-based MedNetworks, for instance, the startup plans to apply its social analytics technology to aid healthcare companies in analyzing and mapping sources of influence within physician communities. Also, Cambridge, MA-based Sermo has found some success in selling market intelligence derived from its online social network of physicians to drug companies. Both MedNetworks and Sermo have found venture firms to back their strategies.

Gardner said in an e-mail that Kyruus was guarding the details of its strategy for now. But we hope to bring you more news about this interesting new venture very soon.

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2 responses to “Highland’s Graham Gardner Takes New Shot at Health IT Startup with Kyruus”

  1. Brian says:

    Hmm, they’re being awfully secretive. I suppose it makes sense given the immense potential for development and innovation in the blossoming healthcare data layer. At the very least, it looks to be an excellent team they’ve put together — I’ve followed Ms. Yoo since her time at Endeca (mutual acquaintances raved about her work), and all signs point to her being a superstar in the making.

  2. I don’t know much more about Kyruus than what’s on the website, but I am extremely impressed with Julie Yoo and Vinay Mohta, both of whom I worked with closely at Endeca. They are both rock stars, and I look forward to seeing what they come up with.