UnitedHealth Unit Buys Boston Health IT Firm Humedica

Humedica, a health IT startup based in Boston, has been acquired by UnitedHealth Group’s (NYSE: UNH) health IT unit, Optum, for an undisclosed sum.

The news was first reported today by the Boston Business Journal, which cites an anonymous source as saying the deal is worth “hundreds of millions” of dollars. Xconomy has confirmed the acquisition—but not the price yet—through two sources with knowledge of the deal.

This is big news for the local healthcare and big-data communities. Humedica was formed by longtime health IT executive Michael Weintraub in July 2008. The idea is to use healthcare analytics software to mine national health data obtained from electronic medical records. Humedica’s customers include drug and medical device companies, financial services firms, and government agencies. The company’s main investors are Bain Capital Ventures, General Catalyst Partners, North Bridge Venture Partners, and Leerink Swann; it has raised $63 million in VC funding, by our count.

Humedica and UnitedHealth have not commented on the record as of yet.

As Xconomy wrote in September 2009, when Humedica emerged from stealth mode, the list of prominent people behind the startup includes its chief medical officer, Paul Bleicher, the founder and former chairman of Waltham, MA-based clinical trials software firm Phase Forward (bought by Oracle in 2010).

“Nobody [other than Humedica] is mapping a large capability to analyze populations in common diseases and therapeutic areas and doing it in a way where it is a software-as-a-service model where the burden of implementation is not put on the local site,” Weintraub told Xconomy in 2009.

Optum, formerly called Ingenix, is based in Eden Prairie, MN, and has been on a buying spree in recent years. In July 2010 it purchased Wakefield, MA-based Picis, a maker of Web-based software systems for hospitals.

Gregory T. Huang contributed reporting to this story.

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