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Exclusive: Reed Jobs' Yosemite makes first digital health bet on Maia Oncology

Reed Jobs' cancer-focused venture firm Yosemite made its first digital health bet on virtual cancer care coordination startup Maia Oncology, Maia founder Liya Shuster-Bier tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: Cancer survivor Shuster-Bier experienced firsthand the struggle of coordinating her oncology treatment while managing a growing list of ailments caused by that treatment, including a heart condition and medically-induced menopause.

Details: Yosemite and Takeda Digital Ventures co-led Maia's $4.25 million seed round and co-incubated the company.

  • Other round participants include the American Cancer Society's BrightEdge, BBG Ventures, and Coalition Operators.
  • Funds will go towards honing Maia's go-to-market strategy, hiring more talent and launching the company's first pilot in partnership with a cancer center and health insurance company.
  • Takeda also negotiated for Maia to acquire the assets of Shuster-Bier's previous cancer companion startup, Alula. All of Alula's investors are now investors in Maia, per Shuster-Bier.

What's next: Shuster-Bier foresees the company collecting a Series A sometime next fall.

What she's saying: "I entered cancer treatment as an otherwise healthy, half-marathon-running 29-year-old," says Shuster-Bier. "I left with a heart condition, medically-induced menopause, and high risk for skin and breast cancer."

  • "I often tell people: I'm less scared of dying from cancer than from what this treatment is going to do to me," Shuster-Bier adds.

How it works: Aiming to start serving patients by early 2024, Maia matches patients with a primary care team who coordinates treatment with their oncologist.

  • Using virtual and remote tools, Maia providers help patients manage symptoms and toxicities as they emerge while sharing information across caregivers through the patients' existing electronic health record.
  • Conditions include heart disease, metabolic disease, and hypertensive disorders that are precipitated and exacerbated by cancer treatment.
  • Maia will track patient outcomes including hospitalizations, ER visits, and development of new comorbidities and their severity.
 

Flashback: Reed Jobs, 31, debuted Yosemite in August.The company has since raised $200 million and is currently in the process of raising $400 million.

  • Yosemite is an a spinoff of Emerson Collective, the Palo Alto impact investing firm founded by Laurene Powell Jobs.

State of play: Recent years have seen the emergence of venture-backed startups for cancer care navigation and management, but "no one's redesigning the care" in the way Maia aims to, says Shuster-Bier.

  • Jasper Health, an NYC-based cancer care navigation startup, last February raised $25 million in Series A funds and "may be back fundraising before next year," CEO Adam Pellegrini told Axios in August.
  • Thyme Care, a Nashville-based oncology management platform, in August collected $60 million in Series B funding.

The bottom line: "Our mission is to graduate healthier cancer survivors," Shuster-Bier says.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to note Yosemite has raised $200 million since its debut in August and is now in the process of raising $400 million.


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