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A new startup, poised to transform cancer care.

AthenaX provides a digital platform for oncology patients and researchers.

Bret Waters
2 min readFeb 24, 2021


1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer. All of us have either faced cancer or know someone who has. And yet patients still experience a lack of credible sources on cures, cutting edge research, how they can apply personalized medicine to their treatment and how to promote recovery through their behavior.

Meanwhile, drug companies often struggle to get their clinical trials completed so they can bring new products to market. Two-thirds of all drug trials are under-enrolled and 85% of all drug trials are delayed due to lack of enrollment, a costly setback.

COVID-19 has shown us that equity in treatment options and access have never been more important. For example, women of color are largely underrepresented in clinical trials yet black women have a 41% higher mortality rate for breast cancer than non-Hispanic white women.

AthenaX, a new digital health startup, is operating at the intersection of these three problems, developing a new virtual health advisor for patients and researchers. Their platform provides simple, actionable, evidence-based recommendations for patients while also capturing and analyzing real-world evidence for clinicians and researchers.

The co-founders of AthenaX, Jessica Thurmond and Monica Schmiede, have a combined 20 years of experience in the health sciences, running clinical trials for a number of organizations. They know first-hand what the market needs and they know where the gaps are for patients. For me, this is one of the things that distinguishes this company. Some digital health startups are founded by techies who have no experience in health care — this one is founded by actual health science professionals.

Partly because of this, AthenaX has already demonstrated a unique ability to develop strategic partnerships between health care providers, biotechnology companies, insurers and most importantly, patients. That is a key success driver for them.

By all accounts, we are entering a new era in health care — an era characterized by more patient-centric methodologies, by using technology to provide personalized medicine to patients, and by dramatically improving the cycle times required to innovate on new drugs and treatment regimens.

AthenaX is truly an exciting new startup that is part of this new era and is poised to transform cancer care with their new digital platform for oncology patients and researchers.



Bret Waters

Silicon Valley guy. Teaches at Stanford. Eats fish tacos.