Vibrent provides technology for national health study
A fast-growing Fairfax County company’s technology is at the heart of an ambitious nationwide health study to collect and analyze data from 1 million people.
Vibrent Health won a $74 million, five-year contract in 2016 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and has received an additional $5 million in funding for the program since.
The goal of NIH’s All of Us Research Program is to accelerate research and to improve health outcomes by creating a first-of-its-kind database. It would take into account differences in lifestyle, environment and biology of Americans across the country.
Vibrent will supply data collection methods, such as wearable devices and web-based platforms, and the ability to analyze the data.
Volunteers will have access to their own information. So while the program won’t provide medical advice, it may, for example, help a participant identify diet triggers for migraines. “Our job is to convert their data into insight using machine learning and algorithmic approaches,” says CEO Praduman Jain. Providing useful data may persuade volunteers to submit even more data, he adds.
Jain started Vibrent Health in 2009 after holding executive roles at Sprint Nextel, AOL, Time Warner and VTech. He saw a need to develop a consumer-centered platform to collect and interpret health data.
The company received $6.5 million in grants from the federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program to develop its platform and started to work with several clients.
When NIH was looking for a platform for its personalized medicine program, Vibrent Health applied for its first federal contract, beating out several major research institutions. “We applied against all odds, which were heavily against us,” says Jain.
Since then, the company has won contracts with the Department of Defense and the National Cancer Institute to provide readiness information for active-duty military personnel and care management for cancer survivors, respectively.
Vibrent, which employs about 65 people, expects to have a total of 100 by the end of the year. It also plans to expand into a larger headquarters of between 20,000 and 25,000 square feet. Vibrent seeks IT workers skilled in areas such as machine learning, data sciences, analytics, product management and user interface design. “I can’t hire fast enough,” Jain says.