Health-software company withheld results from many studies because they ‘come with risks’

eLife, the Phoenix-based health care software company, will not confirm the viability of many of the results that researchers reported from experiments using its software, as it struggles to recover from the most severe recessions in its 72-year history.

The company has withheld certain published studies from the Mayo Clinic that rely on its software. Three other physicians and researchers contacted by The Washington Post say the Mayo Clinic has not received results from many of eLife’s studies from the last four years.

The firm behind eLife confirmed that some of the results submitted to research institutions by its affiliated companies “have not been fully released or published” because it “comes with risks.” In the data it does make public, researchers have found some of its software can skew results for some cancers or for certain illnesses.

Since 2008, eLife’s computing systems have processed 11 million data transactions, sending more than 18 billion pieces of data to more than 28,000 hospitals, physician practices and research laboratories, according to the company.

Plagued by a host of financial setbacks, it filed for bankruptcy in 2012, liquidated its assets in 2014 and now represents the small investment portfolio of its largest shareholder, Regis Capital, the New York hedge fund run by TPG Capital and the Canadian investment firm, Onex Corporation.

eLife did not disclose any of the commercial and legal risks facing its core business when it initially announced its Series B funding round last year. Then, like now, eLife hoped to spin off its software business from its continuing operations.

With eLife’s stock trading for less than 15 cents, Regis disclosed in securities filings this month that eLife had reduced the value of the software business to zero. Regis plans to sell eLife and “reuse funds in the transaction to redeem all of its outstanding Series B Preferred Stock,” according to a regulatory filing.

A spokesperson for Regis declined to comment about the company’s ownership stake in eLife.

In the past four years, eLife has withheld hundreds of examples of clinical results from institutions that use its software, including about 300 instances of clinical trials, according to a review of internal company documents by The Washington Post.

Regis Capital’s quarterly reports show that eLife spends most of its time watching over its investments — its cash and marketable securities total only $6.3 million, according to the latest filing. Half of that is tied up in interest, which is expected to rise. eLife reported more than $4 million in interest expense last year, compared with a total of nearly $7 million in interest payments in 2017.

The company uses its software in clinical trials to evaluate human factors and cost controls in a patient population, according to its filings. It analyzes data such as patient observation times, quality-of-life data and laboratory orders. The company also analyzes benefits from pharmaceutical companies’ treatments and trials.

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