Precision medicine startup Tempus announces expansion into infectious diseases, starting with fight against COVID-19
Tempus is a Chicago, IL-based health technology startup advancing precision medicine through the practical application of artificial intelligence in healthcare. The company was founded in 2015 by Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky. Tempus conducts genomic tests and analyzes clinical data in a patient’s electronic health-care records, anything from medical imaging to a doctor’s handwritten notes. Its mission is to redefine how genomic data is used in a clinical setting.
But with the coronavirus claiming over 100,000 precious lives here in the United States and hundreds of thousands of lives around the world, Tempus decided to join the fight against the deadly COVID-19. The company recently raised a $100 million Series G round at a post-money valuation of $5 billion. The money comes less than 10 months after Tempus raised a $200 million Series F round. Tempus has raised a total of $620M in funding over 9 rounds.
The decision to expand into infectious diseases is also personal to Tempus founder Lefkofsky. About 5 years ago, his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. Lefkofsky was surprised about how little data was used in her therapy treatment decisions
“My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer about five years ago, and I was amazed how little data was actually used as a part of her therapy, largely because our system makes it hard for doctors to access data when making real-time clinical decisions,” he said. “It became clear to me that I needed to try and tackle this problem, and I founded Tempus soon afterwards.”
Now with $100 million war chest, Tempus plans to leverage its existing capabilities to launch a diagnostic polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. In an announcement on its website, Tempus said:
Tempus today announced its expansion into infectious diseases, starting with COVID-19. Tempus is leveraging its existing capabilities to launch a diagnostic polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, as well as a broad-based, healthcare operations initiative to aggregate and structure clinical and molecular data collected from COVID-19 patients around the country, deriving the real-world evidence needed for future research to inform patient treatment.
PCR testing is one of the testing options authorized by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to detect and track the spread of COVID-19. Tempus’ CAP-accredited/CLIA-certified labs in Chicago and Atlanta will offer their tests in accordance with the FDA’s Laboratory Developed Test (LDT) and Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) framework to support the growth and acceleration of testing in the U.S. Over the next several weeks, Tempus expects to be testing approximately 30,000 patients weekly across both labs, with the goal of scaling those efforts two to three times over the next several months. In addition, Tempus is working on a known respiratory pathogen panel, which will include COVID-19, along with other common viruses, to be run on its next generation sequencing platform. Tempus hopes to bring that new assay to market this summer to compliment its PCR testing.
Simultaneously, Tempus is conducting a large-scale initiative to structure and aggregate real-world data at scale for COVID-positive patients. In collaboration with academic partners, Tempus is supporting the fight against COVID-19 by rapidly collecting and curating clinical data on up to 50,000 patients, and also performing full RNA transcriptome research sequencing on up to 10,000 patients. Tempus plans on making the real-world data available to academic partners, consistent with applicable privacy laws, to supplement their existing efforts to understand symptoms, treatment, and response for patients battling the novel coronavirus.
“The Tempus platform was designed to be disease agnostic, and we are in a unique position to support existing efforts to help identify patients infected with the coronavirus and help physicians make data-driven decisions when treating patients,” said Founder and CEO Eric Lefkofsky.