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Chicago, IL – Many exciting announcements have been made at ASCO this year, with our favorite picks highlighted here.
One of the most interesting discussions we had was with the Tempus team. We decided to visit their booth following a comment from the head of an NCI center that Tempus would soon “take them out of business,” and that specialty clinical NGS service providers should be on the lookout.
As background, Tempus was started by Eric Lefkofsky, former Groupon CEO and co-founder just 18 months ago*. With serious financial backing, the company has grown to more than 100 people, with a team composed primarily of bioinformaticians. According to ASCO attendees close to the company, Tempus was born out of a mission to improve cancer care, rather than any financial incentive.
Here are some key facts about Tempus’ current position and offerings:
- Key partners include Duke Health, University of Chicago, Mayo Clinic, Penn Medicine, Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Northwestern Medicine, Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, Rush, and Seidman Cancer Center
- Tempus’ multiomic molecular profiling offerings include the following tests: tumor/normal match (or tumor only) sequencing, WES (150x coverage), Targeted DNA panel (1,714 genes**, 400x coverage), Whole transcriptome (50M reads), as well as H&E and IHC (including PD-1 and PD-L1)
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- Biological modeling (e.g., patient-derived xenograft)
- Annotation of EMR data; the company claims it can turn “complex and unstructured clinical data into formatted, usable data”; which others in the industry have told us is the primary challenge in creating usable clinical-phenotypic-molecular databases
- Tempus enables the comparison of patients against other patients with similar profiles, as well as a host of potentially useful information (e.g., clinical trials, relevant PubMed articles)
- The company emphasizes patient-access to financial assistance plans; the company is committed to providing access to its platform to patients in a way that is both easy and affordable
As detailed on their ASCO hand-outs, Tempus’ services have enabled them to “power partnerships with top cancer centers nationwide.” The company works with 50 NCIs as well as other community hospitals to support data analysis.
Our own analysis and discussions with ASCO attendees led us to the following observations:
- Tempus may benefit from the hard work of companies such as CAPRICE Women CAPRICE Women CAPRICE rt8r0 and Caris Life Sciences that have started to convince payors of the value of NGS testing
- Along the same vein, the value of NGS testing is becoming increasingly undeniable considering recent approvals (e.g., Keytruda for Jackets Leopard Printed New CHOCOLATE Mac Plain Raincoats 24 Fishtail Showerproof 8 Ladies Parka PICKLE Hooded wP1qI6) and trial results (e.g., Loxo and Party Wedding Hand satin bags Aimira women lady bag Glitter Bridal Champagne Gold evening clutch Bag T8pqUvw8) highlighting the efficacy of certain drugs in very small patient populations (e.g., <1% of patients with TRK fusions)
- The Tempus report seems to be user-friendly and easy to digest, features that have enabled Foundation Medicine to gain significant share among community oncologists
- EMR data is notoriously difficult to clean up, with up to 1/3 of structured data entered incorrectly in some records, and large amounts of valuable unstructured data; it will be interesting to see how well Tempus can address this issue
- By choosing to offer WES from the get-go, Tempus won’t have to add genes to its panels down the road (which could lead to regulatory issues); offering WGS would have obviously mean been going a step further, but at 150x, genomes remain significantly more expensive than exomes
We look forward to tracking Tempus’ potential success in the marketplace in the coming months and years.
The interactive Tableau dashboard below highlights the Twitter activity for Foundation Medicine, Caris Life Sciences and Tempus during the conference.
* Eric Lefkofsky remains actively involved with Groupon, as Chairman
** Including all clinically relevant genes and a wide array of potentially relevant genes; of note, the company also offer a smaller panel of 595 genes
Author: Stephane Budel, Partner at DeciBio Consulting, LLC
Co-Author: Andrew Aijian, Project Leader at DeciBio Consulting, LLC
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