Glen Wakeman, co-founder of LaunchPad Holdings LLC., is a globally recognized writer and consultant that has found his passion in nurturing the business ventures of others. Mr. Wakeman brings with him a vast array of experience, knowledge, and expertise to fuel his efforts to help entrepreneurs navigate the most critical stages of their business development.
“Let’s start with money,” says Eric Lefkofsky, in a recent blog post that was published in Crain’s Chicago Business. “We spend about $3 trillion a year on health care in this country,” and “roughly one-third is wasted.” The mission of his latest startup, Tempus, is to do what for healthcare that his other companies have done for marketing, transportation, and consumer goods. “By bringing Big Data (along with machine learning and artificial intelligence) to healthcare,” Mr. Lefkofsky believes, “we can reduce mortalities by well over 50 percent.”
“Write what you know,” Mark Twain advised writers, and money is a subject, which Mr. Lefkofsky has come to know as the co-founder of Innerworkings (INWK), Echo Logistics (ECHO) and Groupon (GRPN), Lefkofsky has a talent for finding and resolving corporate inefficiencies and closing gaps in markets, a talent for making something out of nothing more than an idea, a talent for solving problems. His publicly traded companies brought efficient delivery to marketing, transportation and consumer goods by connecting the materials of production to the producers, and the producers to the consumers. He would now connect doctors and patients with the most advanced technology, empowering them to make the most informed treatment decisions. To that end, Mr. Lefkofsky has established Tempus and intends to build the largest medical library of molecular and clinical data.
The money Mr. Lefkofsky refers to is that which we spend as a country on healthcare, more than any other developed country. Mr. Lefkofsky proposes we use the trillion dollars that is wasted on healthcare to solve other major social problems. Half of that is government spending, and half is private. The United States government spends about as much on healthcare, as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), as other developed countries. But the private spending of individual consumers, insurance companies, and medical researchers doubles the total. One sixth of our GDP goes to healthcare, twice as much as other developed countries. Most of the waste, approximately two-thirds, according to the National Academy of Medicine is categorized as unnecessary services, excess administrative costs, and inefficient care delivery.
Mr. forte has been solving delivery problems—getting things where they need to be when needed. Now the product he wishes to deliver more efficiently is information.
“The elephant in the room is cancer and other diseases that endlessly consume our resources,” and Mr. Lefkofsky has formed Tempus to tame that beast. We are no longer “powerless, to combat illnesses such as cancer, overwhelmed by its complexity” because we have “for the first time the tools we need to peer inside the body and understand what makes us healthy and what makes us sick. “
But Mr. Lefkofsky’s mission for Tempus is not just a healthcare solution, not just a more efficient method for managing a deadly disease, and is even more than “the gateway of a new era of technology and medicine.” The improvements in healthcare, described in terms of a million lives saved, can be translated into dollars to relieve of ills that trouble the rest of society. Because of the sheer enormity of the numbers spent on healthcare, any significant percentage savings could significantly improve or nearly resolve our most pressing problems. A trillion dollars saved would allow for a 20% increase in spending on education, double our spending to reduce crime, eliminate poverty, and pay the interest on $20 trillion in national debt.
Tempus is Latin for time, and time is money. Time is also life for a cancer patient. Which treatment is administered and when so often determines a cancer patient’s chances for survival and recovery. By furthering the collection of molecular data through individual genome sequencing and clinical data on individual cancer patients, Tempus intends to allow more precise and timely matching of cancer treatments with cancer patients.
Progress toward an efficient healthcare delivery system is not entirely dependent upon technological advances. Whenever people are involved, progress can be slowed by the inability for human beings to process new information while carrying out everyday responsibilities. Some oncologists may continue to choose traditional treatments regardless of effectiveness. Some patients may choose no treatment when presented with the cost of that treatment. Some institutions may be unwilling to barter information they have collected for the uncertain value of the newest research and technology. As Kurt Vonnegut says in Slaughterhouse Five, “So it goes.”
Most wars are about wealth—money, property, and power—and fighting a war requires the expenditure of wealth. The troops must be armed, fed and transported. The troops in the fight against cancer are the general practitioners and oncologists who interview patients and record their notes. Tempus gathers this intelligence from the frontlines in the war on cancer via electronic healthcare records, and assists doctors in digitizing their patient notes. From Tempus, the medical troops receive the latest updates on their disease foes, which weapons have been most effective, and how to best coordinate their strengths. “It’s time to double down. It’s time to focus. Because as you can see, if we win this battle, we win the entire war.”
Eric Lefkofsky is the founder and CEO of Tempus, one of Chicago’s top ten tech startups. Tempus is focused on building the world’s largest library of molecular and clinical data along with an operating system that it hopes will bridge the disconnect between collected data and cancer patient treatment and make that information accessible and useful to physicians and other healthcare workers. Ultimately, he hopes this would lead to more personalized cancer care and improved patient outcomes. Started in 2015 by Lefkofsky and his longtime business partner, Tempus has since grown to a 200-person company that has recently raised $70 million in venture capital, the largest amount of funding in the third quarter of 2017.
Lefkofsky’s repertoire spans beyond entrepreneurship. He is heavily involved in philanthropic causes. Over a decade ago, he and his wife Liz founded the Lefkofsky Family Foundation, whose primary aims are the advancement education, fundamental human rights, civic causes and medical discoveries. Yet while the aim of the foundation is to advance all of the aforementioned, Lefkofsky states in his blog that “These days, I have become 100% focused on the last and I can’t seem to think about anything else.”
Lefkofsky believes that we could be spending our nation’s money better. In his blog, he writes that “We spend ~$3 trillion a year on health care in this country, and by almost all accounts (independent government studies, large Payor analyses, etc.) roughly one-third is wasted. That means we are spending roughly a trillion dollars a year that we don’t need to be spending.” He believes that one way to better spending is technology, as he continues with the statement that we “are standing at the gateway of a new era of technology and medicine, one that is going to completely upend how we treat patients and manage disease.” But more than that, he believes that “by bringing big data (along with machine learning and artificial intelligence) to healthcare, we can reduce mortalities by well over 50% in the next 25 years and remove a significant portion of that trillion-dollar waste.”
That begs the question of what to do with all the saved money? Lefkofsky believes that a great portion of it could be geared toward increasing the education budget that would improve our schools, and we would still be left with enough money to significantly impact crime, work “with individuals from disadvantaged communities, as well as providing job training and other opportunities to individuals who are already in the prison system.” According to him, we would still be left “with $790 billion to go.” That, he believes could be spent toward tackling poverty, as “For ~$150 billion or so we can bring everyone in this country above the poverty line.” In terms of the billions of dollars that are left, he comments that “Maybe we want to retire our national debt or reserve for the interest we pay. If we chose the latter, that’s $240 billion annually. So even after setting aside enough money to cover our national debt without using a penny of tax payer money, we still have $400 billion left.”
Lefkofsky states that “The elephant in the room is cancer (and other diseases) that endlessly consume our resources, impoverish our healthcare system, and deflate the spirit of every patient and family member battling disease.” He finds one of the biggest issues to be the subpar collection and use of patient treatment results, as this information is typically only accessible to the patient’s health care provider. In order to bridge the gap between patient data and personalized cancer care, Tempus’ approach includes sequencing, analytics, reporting and validation. In his blog, Lefkofsky states that “while up until now we were powerless to combat illnesses such as cancer, overwhelmed by its complexity, we now have for the first time, the tools we need to peer inside the body and understand what makes us healthy and what makes us sick.” He continues with “Advances in molecular sequencing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence have armed us in ways that were truly unimaginable by those fighting on the front line.”
Tempus defines sequencing as the use of genomic and transcriptomic sequencing of cancer patients combined with deep machine learning, while analytics refers to the combined analysis of both molecular and clinical data in order better understand patients’ tumors and subsequently find more personalized treatment options. Tempus’ reporting involves providing physicians with detailed patient information that highlights actionable insights and their implications for a patient’s treatment.
In his blog, he connects budgeting optimization and the control of diseases such as cancer. “But wait, we forgot to accrue for the positive benefit of (1) an extra one million productive Americans who are still alive because they didn’t die of cancer, or a heart attack, or a stroke and (2) a more educated society and (3) less people in jail and (4) no more poverty to contend with. Even if we assume conservative GDP lifts for the above, you probably pick up $500-600 billion annually, which means we’re left trying to spend the extra trillion dollars we saved by improving our healthcare system and controlling diseases such as cancer.”
Lefkofsky concludes with “In other words, remove the trillion dollars of waste and save lives with more effective prevention and treatment, and you have enough money to attack national problems with plenty to spare.” He closes with “It’s time to double down. It’s time to focus. Because as you can see, if we win this battle, we win the entire war.”
According to insidephilanthropy.com, Lefkofsky’s other philanthropic involvements include The Giving Pledge, Lurie’s Children’s Hospital, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Science and Industry and World Business Chicago as well as the Steppenwolf Theatre Company. In addition to Tempus, his other entrepreneurial ventures include Lightbank, Groupon, Uptake Technologies, Mediaocean, Echo Global Logistics, and InnerWorkings.
He is also author of Accelerated Disruption: Understanding the True Speed of Innovation.
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Amicus Therapeutics recently announced that they are seeking FDA approval for a new drug therapy designed to provide effective treatment for the rare condition called Fabry disease. What is Fabry disease and what does this rare condition entail? How does this new medication help control bothersome symptoms associated with Fabry disease? What is Amicus Therapeutics and what do they specialize in? The following information has been designed to answer these important questions.
Fabry Disease Facts
Fabry disease is a very rare genetic condition present from birth in those affected. It is considered a lysosomal storage disease and can result in a wide array of full body symptoms (https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/amicus-therapeutics). The mechanism involved in Fabry disease is a faulty metabolism of a specific type of lipids found in the body. This either leads to an overproduction of these lipids or an inability of the body to effectively clear excess amounts of them that accumulate over time, leading to sometimes severe symptoms.
Symptoms associated with Fabry Disease
Since Fabry disease is present from birth, symptoms will normally appear in early childhood. Due to the exceptional rarity of this condition, symptoms can be mistaken for other more common illnesses. This leads to a delayed diagnosis and a prolonged period of suffering without appropriate medical treatment. Signs of Fabry disease can include the following.
Full body or localized pain is common in patients with Fabry disease. Gastrointestinal pain can also result from an accumulation of stored lipids in the GI tract.
* Kidney Disease
Kidney complications are also common in Fabry disease patients, and these issues can eventually lead to end-stage kidney failure. This is a common Fabry disease feature to occur in the patient’s third decade of life.
* Heart Problems
Cardiomyopathy and high blood pressure are quite common complications with Fabry disease. These problems result from an over-accumulation of stored lipids around the heart.
* Skin Conditions
Minor skin conditions such as angiokeratomas, Raynaud’s disease, and issues involving the sweat glands can also occur.
Amicus Therapeutics Seeks Approval for Migalastat
For those affected by Fabry disease, there simply aren’t enough treatment options on the market that provide effective relief. Migalastat is a precision oral medication designed by Amicus Therapeutics to effectively fight Fabry disease repercussions. Amicus Therapeutics is seeking FDA approval for this drug, having already had success getting the medication approved in other countries. The European Commission, Switzerland, and Israel have already given this medication the green light. Amicus Therapeutics is now attempting to seek approval in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan.
How Migalastat Works to Fight Fabry Disease
Migalastat is a monotherapy oral medication designed to treat Fabry disease patients that have amenable mutations. Migalastat is designed to work by preventing the overproduction of lipids within the patients. It also helps the patient to effectively get rid of excess accumulations of these lipids. Amenable mutations are those that respond favorably to treatment during clinical trials and other phases of the drug testing process. Out of over 800 known mutations, it has been estimated that over 330 of them are amenable to treatment with Migalastat. This number could potentially be far too low, and subsequent studies indicate as many as half of Fabry disease patients could experience drastic benefits from Migalastat treatment.
Contraindications for Migalastat
Due to the way the drug works, Migalastat cannot be combined with enzyme replacement therapy. It is not recommended for patients who are already experiencing renal disease and has not been studied in children or pregnant women. Pregnancy during the course of treatment should be avoided, so women of reproductive years should be on an appropriate form of birth control while taking this medication.
Kidney and heart functioning, as well as blood markers, should be periodically tested and monitored through the course of treatment with Migalastat. It is preferable that these steps should be taken every six months. Adverse reactions associated with Migalastat were relatively minor, with the most common being headaches.
What is Amicus Therapeutics?
Amicus Therapeutics is a globally recognized biotechnology company focused on discovering and providing effective treatment protocols for rare conditions such as Fabry disease, Epidermolysis Bullosa, and many other orphan illnesses. The advent of genetic testing has paved the way for companies such as Amicus Therapeutics to use detailed data compiled from patient DNA to develop effective treatments for conditions that are so rare that most doctors have never seen an official case during their career.
Being diagnosed with a rare medical condition is an isolating and traumatizing event. Patients are sometimes left feeling that they have no support from their medical treatment team or their well-meaning loved ones and the community at large. Amicus Therapeutics believes in fighting rare diseases through treatment advances, first and foremost. However, they also recognize the need to provide emotional support to patients dealing with these types of conditions. Therefore, Amicus Therapeutics puts a great deal of effort into providing top-notch patient advocacy programs to provide empowerment to patients and their family members.
Amicus Therapeutics combines science and technology with the compassion they’ve found for sufferers of rare diseases in order to provide one source of all-encompassing medical care for these individuals. As leaders in the biotechnology field, Amicus Therapeutics helped design a promising new drug therapy for the treatment of Fabry disease. This medication, known as Migalastat, has been proven effective in controlling Fabry disease-related symptoms.
As the notion of personalized medicine based on genetic information obtained from patients continues to grow, companies such as Amicus Therapeutics offer promising insight into the wealth of knowledge that can be obtained from genetic research. Believing that the powerful combination of modern technology, as a passion for helping those affected by rare illnesses, and an effective support system for all involved is what has kept Amicus Therapeutics on the forefront of this exciting wave of developments.
Amicus Therapeutics continues to stand up as a united front against the devastation that can come from a rare disease diagnosis and they look forward to the additional drug therapies that will continue moving down the pipeline in the coming years. Together with other dedicated medical professionals, Amicus Therapeutics is sure to continue making a big difference in the lives of those affected by orphan diseases and their loved ones.