10 U.S. Startups to Watch

May 11, 2018
10 U.S. Startups to Watch
[Source: a-r-t-i-s-t / Getty Images]

Chris Anderson

 

doc.ai

Headquarters: Palo Alto, California. Year Founded: 2016. Company Founders: Walter De Brouwer, Ph.D., Sam De Brouwer, Alan Greenem, M.D., Cheryl Greene, Anthea Chung. Employees: 15. Major Investors: Comet Labs, Pantera Capital.

doc.ai is a blockchain-based AI platform that enables deep learning computations on quantified biology for personal health insights. The platform connects people, data scientists and research sponsors to develop predictive models. “I cannot think of a bigger mission for healthcare than to unlock people’s medical data through the establishment of a cryptoasset economy using the most advanced market weapons at our disposal: machine learning, precision medicine (OMICs), distributed ledger technology, applied cryptography, and edge computing. It is the only strategy whereby a seller’s market will eventually become a buyer’s market,” said Walter De Brouwer, Ph.D., company CEO. “Anything not exposed to the free market is mispriced. So are the millions of biomarkers in people’s bodies. They have a market price, but it is waiting for a medium of exchange to become a store of value. Medical data will become a financial asset.”

Genome Medical

Headquarters: San Francisco. Year Founded: June 2016. Company Founders: Lisa Alderson, CEO; Randy Scott, Ph.D., chairman of the board; Robert C. Green, M.D., chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board. Employees: 16. Major Investors: Canaan Partners, GE Ventures, Illumina Ventures, Kaiser Permanente Ventures, Flywheel Ventures, and HealthInvest Equity Partners.

Genome Medical is a digital health company with a mission to integrate genomics into everyday health care. It is the first nationwide medical practice focused on genetics and genomics, and its clinical genetics experts provide virtual consultations over a telegenomics platform (video or phone). The company helps patients, physicians, health systems, payers and employers navigate the rapidly evolving field of genomics to improve health, diagnose and prevent disease, and lower the cost of care. Services include pre- and post-test counseling, test requisition, development of clinical action plans based on test results, and peer-to-peer consultations. “We are seeing unparalleled advancements in genetics and genomics, and yet most people do not have access to the benefits of genomic medicine. Genome Medical was created to change that, as the first independent, nationwide medical practice focused on genetic and genomics. The fast, direct access we provide to genetic experts (genetic counselors and medical geneticists) through virtual consultations helps patients and clinicians make informed genetic health decisions about testing and how to best integrate test results into healthcare planning,” said Genome Medical CEO Lisa Alderson.

Interpreta

Headquarters: San Diego. Year Founded: 2014. Company Founders: Ahmed Ghouri, M.D., CEO; Raghu Sugavanam, president; Gary Rayner, chairman of the board. Employees: Undisclosed. Major Investors: Centene Corp.

Interpreta is an analytics company that intelligently synchronizes healthcare. A real-time clinical and genomic interpreter and care-navigation platform that leverages AI, Interpreta helps physicians and insurers to deliver patient prioritization and actionable insights prospectively to enable quality care, population genomics, and precision medicine. “Interpreta continuously aggregates and interprets EMR, insurer, pharmacy, laboratory, EMR, and genome sequence data against always-current knowledge bases in real time to optimize patient treatment,” said Ahmed Ghouri, M.D., CEO. Interpreta’s analytics engine updates, interprets, and synchronizes clinical and genomics data, creating a personalized roadmap that is syndicated to multiple application workflows using a real-time API. “Like a GPS system for patient care, it continuously gathers and calculates multiple sources of data to deliver precision care guidance and realtime course correction as soon as new data arrives, without interpretation latency. This enables ACOs, health plans, pharmacists, care managers, and patients to quickly navigate next steps in priority order,” Ghouri added.

Roswell Biotechnologies

Headquarters: San Diego. Year Founded: 2014. Company Founders: Paul Mola, president and CEO; Barry Merriman, Ph.D., CSO. Employees: 14. Major Investors: Private Investors.

Roswell is taking a bold step to develop a transformative technology platform based on Molecular Electronics— ENDSeq Electronic Nano Detection Sequencing—to realize the $100, 1-hour genome. Low cost desktop systems, with simple single molecule workflows, will drive ubiquitous deployment of clinical-grade sequencing for equitable access to precision medicine for all. Roswell’s ability to deliver ultra-long reads for phased genomes, with high accuracy, and direct reading of epigenetic status could transform the practice of medicine. “Roswell’s ENDSeq System is an endgame technology that will defy the current status of reading DNA, to unlock the power of the genome to usher in the era of Precision Medicine. Roswell’s technology will shift the paradigm from sequencing individuals to sequencing single cells for maximum power to unlock new insights in biology for the betterment of mankind,” said Paul Mola, president and CEO.

Nebula Genomics

Headquarters: San Francisco. Year Founded: 2017. Company Founders: George Church, Ph.D.; Dennis Grishin Ph.D.; Kamal Obbad. Employees: 5. Major Investors: Undisclosed.

Nebula Genomics is a decentralized platform that leverages blockchain technology for the sharing of genomic and other healthcare-related data. “The Nebula platform leverages blockchain technology to eliminate personal genomics companies as middlemen between data owners and data buyers. Instead, data owners can acquire their personal genomic data from Nebula sequencing facilities or other sources, join the Nebula blockchain-based, peer-to-peer network and directly connect with and receive payment from data buyers,” said co-founder Demmis Grishin, Ph.D. “This model reduces effective sequencing costs and enhances protection of personal genomic data. It also satisfies the needs of data buyers in regards to data availability, data acquisition logistics, and resources needed for genomic big data,”and how to best integrate test results into health care planning.

Tempus

Headquarters: Chicago. Year Founded: 2015. Company Founder: Eric Lefkofsky, CEO. Employees: Approximately 400. Major Investors: New Enterprise Associates, Revolution Growth, and T. Rowe Price Associates.

Tempus is a technology company that is building what the company believes will be the world’s largest library of molecular and clinical data and an operating system to make that data accessible and useful. The company enables physicians to deliver personalized cancer care for patients through an interactive analytical and machine learning platform. It provides genomic sequencing services and analyzes molecular and therapeutic data to empower physicians to make real-time, data-driven decisions. The goal of the company is for each patient to benefit from the treatment of others who came before by providing physicians with tools that learn as more data is gathered. “Tempus was born out of frustration with a healthcare system that too often let powerful data and real world evidence go to waste,” said Eric Lefkofsky, CEO. “It is impossible to scale personalized medicine efforts without centralizing vast amounts of phenotypic, therapeutic, and molecular data. Tempus addressed this by building an ecosystem to collect, cleanse, analyze, and apply data solutions to oncology through products that are driving real-time, clinical decision support and cutting-edge research. Given the breadth and scale of our current data set, we’re in a unique position to help usher in an era of precision medicine to support patients battling disease.”

Seqster

Headquarters: San Diego. Year Founded: 2016. Company Founders: Ardy Arianpour, CEO; Xiang Li Ph.D., CTO; Dana Hosseini, CIO. Employees: 15. Major Investors: Executives in Genomics, Healthcare, Diagnostics and Clinical Trials.

Seqster contends it has created the Mint.com of health data, as the world’s first company to aggregate and comRPRDbine matched longitudinal electronic health records (EHRs), genomic and fitness data from any source to generate new insights using machine learning. It puts consumers in charge of all of their health data to disrupt EHR, genomic, and fitness data silos. “The greatest challenge we face in healthcare is our ability to bring all of the data together in a common form while simultaneously addressing data ownership, data security, and interoperability. This is because your information is siloed and stored in different EHRs, genomic labs, and wearable devices that don’t talk to each other,” said company CEO Ardy Arianpour. “With Seqster, you now have your own health data platform where you can unlock and generate value by engaging with your data and sharing it on your terms for the good of all.” The platform allows consumers and their families to have all of their health data live in one place, in a common form. In addition to enabling data sharing for research, the platform allows users to designate access to caregivers and family members through HealthTrust—a legal framework for preserving and passing on health data. Seqster’s platform currently connects to more than 1,000 healthcare providers comprising more than 2,000 hospitals and clinics nationwide."

RPRD Diagnostics

Headquarters: Milwaukee, WI. Year Founded: 2016. Company Founders: Ulrich Broeckel, M.D., CEO; Carter Cliff, director. Employees: 10. Major Investors: Children’s Hospital of Minnesota.

RPRD (Right Patient Right Drug) Diagnostics is a precision medicine company offering clinical pharmacogenomics (PGx) testing, analysis and implementation services. RPRD’s PGx tests inform drug selection and dosing to support clinical decision-making, thereby improving patient outcomes through increased drug therapy effectiveness and decreased adverse reactions, with an additional benefit of reducing overall costs. The company specializes in both comprehensive PGx and tailored panels, such as the CNT Panel for identification of leukemia patients at risk for toxicity from thiopurine drugs. “While clinical pharmacogenomics (PGx) testing has been around for more than a decade, institutions have struggled with the challenges of implementing these services, not the least of which includes clinical decision and electronic medical record decision support. With practicing clinicians ourselves, RPRD understands these difficulties and has a comprehensive view of the PGx services and support required to benefit healthcare,” said CEO Ulrich Broeckel, M.D. “Our staff has over 60 years of combined clinical expertise and implementation experience. RPRD is committed to science-driven research and development as well as state-of-the-art testing platforms focused on highest impact yet cost-effective solutions for our customers and their patients.” RPRD also serves the pharmaceutical and clinical trials industries as a pharmacogenetics testing and data-analysis resource.

Root

Headquarters: Boston. Year Founded: 2016. Company Founder: Nathan Pearson, Ph.D. Employees: 4. Major Investors: pre-seed.

As a B-to-B-to-freemium-consumer play, Root helps institutions engage the world’s largest living cohort of engaged, contactable, well genotyped people, by giving more than 29 million tissue-donor volunteers their own prismatically informative HL A data—securely and well interpreted—to use in life and for science. “As a genomicist who lost my mom young, to a blood cancer with no marrow donor, I know first-hand how our most diverse and prismatically informative genes, HLA, bond humanity together,” said Founder Nathan Pearson, Ph.D. “But with no one offering good personal insight from HLA, I saw that doing so— clearly, brightly, wisely, and free—could help millions learn and thrive from the genes that say more, for each person and for science, than any other DNA.”

Two Pore Guys

Headquarters: Santa Cruz, CA. Year Founded: 2011. Company Founders: William Dunbar, Ph.D., acting CEO and CTO; Trevor Morin, Ph.D., CSO; Dan Heller, strategic advisor and board member. Employees: Undisclosed. Major Investors: Khosla Ventures.

Two Pore Guys is developing a portable device based on solid-state nanopore technology that detects and quantifies DNA/RNA and analyte targets in an inexpensive form factor. The 2PG sample-to-answer device in development can be used for a number of applications, including liquid biopsies, detecting and monitoring pathogens, and for agricultural applications. “At the heart of our technology platform is a solid-state nanopore that electrically detects single molecules and discriminates targets of interest from background using our patented biochemical methods,” said William Dunbar, Ph.D., acting CEO, and CTO. “Among the advantages of this approach is that the solution is much faster and cheaper than traditional qPCR, with accuracy matching that of ddPCR. We believe the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of this approach, combined with a portable form factor, will disrupt markets as a multi-omcis platform."

This story originally appeared in the May-June 2018 issue of Clinical OMICs.