Last week we launched Endpoint Health out of stealth
And the odds are, if you’re reading this (today), you’re isolating at home or wearing a mask. You’re not doing this just because there’s a chance of catching or spreading a virus. You’re doing this because COVID-19 causes some people to get so sick they need to be in the hospital…and because too many of these people go into the ICU and don’t come out. They develop sepsis and respiratory failure…their immune systems rage out of control, their lungs fill with fluid, and deadly blood clots form. They are the sickest patients in the hospital.
They are the critically ill
We formed Endpoint Health in 2018 with a mission to improve outcomes of the critically ill. We never imagined their struggle would be on the nightly news around the world for months. One of our focus areas was, and still is, sepsis: a life-threatening immune response to infection, and the poster child for critical illness. Prior to the pandemic, it already had an estimated cost of over $60 billion per year in the U.S. and was linked to more global deaths than cancer each year (11 million vs. 9.6 million). Today it has a lead role in a pandemic with a price tag of over $1.7 trillion dollars in the U.S. alone. There are no FDA approved therapies for sepsis, only supportive care, such as ventilation and fluids.
We’re here to change that
Our solution isn’t just about developing novel therapies, or a new technology. It is about a new way of approaching how novel therapies are developed for critical illness, and how all important therapies are personalized for our sickest patients. Critical care physicians have known for decades that developing successful therapies, especially for syndromes like sepsis, would require a deeper understanding of patient biology in order to target therapies to patients that would benefit, while avoiding harm in those that would not. They watched as the field of oncology transitioned to targeted therapies in the 1990s, with medical miracles like imatinib, turning some forms of blood cancer from a virtual death sentence to a substantially curable disease. This approach, using patient data and diagnostic tests to develop and target therapies to the right patient is what we call precision medicine, and it changed the field of cancer care.
Critical illnesses aren’t like cancer, though
They happen suddenly and progress rapidly. In the time it takes to return tumor biopsy results, a critical care physician may make dozens of treatment decisions for multiple patients, each with life or death implications. Each patient has multiple clinical challenges that must be overcome simultaneously: They need oxygen, dialysis, they often need to have balance restored to both their immune system and coagulation functions. Each choice and moment leads to changes in the patient. If cancer is like golf, immensely difficult, but paced and focused, then critical illnesses are like speed chess, where every minute counts, the challenges are dynamic, and the permutations of choice can be more than a human mind can fully grasp.
But we (humans) are no longer alone in this fight
Tools like NGS, cloud computing, and AI now make it possible to capture and understand the biology of these dynamic and complex patients. At Endpoint Health we are leveraging these enabling technologies to build the world’s first precision medicine ecosystem designed for the unique challenges of critical illness. We are using this ecosystem to enable a new generation of insights about patients and how they respond to treatment, as well as to develop products that solve the unique challenges of delivering care to the critically ill. This means building FDA approved rapid diagnostic tests and algorithms to personalize supportive care, as well as developing and commercializing targeted therapies through partnerships with biotech and pharma companies to address long-unmet medical needs. The ultimate goal is not to create one test or therapy that can be sold for use in many diseases, rather, it is to ensure that every critical therapy needed for each patient is available and optimized to accomplish a single goal – improve outcomes.
A new kind of healthcare company
In 2015 Roche acquired GeneWEAVE, a diagnostic company focused on detecting and guiding antibiotic choice for hospital infections that I previously started along with several of my current co-founders at Endpoint Health. Around the same time Roche invested in Flatiron Health and Foundation Medicine, later acquiring both companies for more than $5 billion. This created an integrated solution that could allow Roche to leverage digital and molecular data to develop and target cancer treatments. In my time at Roche I traveled around the world visiting hospitals and ICUs focused on products outside of cancer. I knew that the integrated solution Roche had for oncology wasn’t designed to meet the needs of critical illness, but I couldn’t help wondering–what if it were? What if you started with an integrated approach to critical illness and built a new healthcare company, not just a diagnostics or pharma company, with the latest generation of innovation at its core…rather than bolted on? Could this result in the scale of change in healthcare that Amazon.com brought to commerce, or that Lyft and Uber brought to transportation? And what if the biggest change measured was in the number of lives saved?
In June 2018 we incorporated Endpoint Health to answer these questions. We partnered with amazing investors who have been a part of multiple sea-changes across decades and industries. Today we invite you to share in our vision, and to stay tuned for what’s to come.