Precision medicine company Tempus lands $200M to expand into infectious diseases, mental health

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has expanded its data-driven approach to diagnostics by entering the infectious disease market, starting with COVID-19. (Tempus)

Tempus, a company that uses artificial intelligence to advance precision medicine, banked $200 million financing rounds that includes a massive valuation of $8.1 billion dollars.

The company announced the series G-2 round Thursday. Investors include Baillie Gifford, Franklin Templeton, Google, Novo Holdings, and funds and accounts managed by T. Rowe Price. 

The company was founded in 2015 by its billionaire Eric Lefkofsky, who previously co-founded the e-commerce company Groupon in 2008. 

Tempus develops an AI-enabled precision medicine software based on its collection and analysis of clinical and molecular data. The company scored $200 million in total funding in 2019 and has now raised around $1.05 billion. 

AI-powered precision medicine is becoming a crowded field, but while Tempus initially focused on cancer it has expanded to focus on other areas of healthcare, including infectious diseases, depression, and cardiology.

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The company is using the additional funds to expand its operations and establish its work in these disease areas, executives said. Tempus now employs approximately 1,500 people and runs millions of molecular tests annually. The company has been able to aggregate one of the largest repositories of healthcare data in the world, which it uses to help personalize care and ensure that every patient is on their own optimal, therapeutic path, according to the company.

“Never before has the need to bring the power and promise of technology to healthcare been more acute than it is today,” said Lefkofsky, who is founder and CEO at Tempus in a statement. “As a leader in this space, we are very much aware of our responsibility and the power of this moment in time; one in which we now possess the technological capability to use artificial intelligence to eradicate disease and help people live longer and healthier lives.” 

Tempus is focused on advancing precision medicine through its proprietary data platform that ingests multi-modal data across major disease types and analyzes that data looking for therapeutically relevant insights. Tempus organizes phenotypic, morphological, and molecular data in real-time, enabling the company to add clinical context to physician-ordered laboratory tests.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has expanded its data-driven approach to diagnostics by entering the infectious disease market, starting with COVID-19.

In May, the Chicago-based company launched a diagnostic COVID-19 PCR test at its CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited laboratories in Chicago and Atlanta while developing a sequencing-based respiratory pathogen panel. It has run 1 million tests so far.

RELATED: Covance teams up with Tempus with time on its mind

Tempus started an initiative to structure and aggregate real-world clinical and genomic data from up to 50,000 COVID-positive patients, including RNA-seq transcriptome data from up to 10,000 patients, in collaboration with academic partners, with the goal to better understand the disease and how it affects different people.

“Any disease area where you have lots of heterogeneity in terms of patient populations who are being infected with these diseases, and where you have a variety of outcomes and possible therapeutics, are areas that can be enhanced with big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence,” Lefkofsky said in a statement when the initiative was announced.

"The goal is to create 'smart' laboratory tests by including and analyzing other types of data along with the test result, and by making the tests as personalized as possible," he said.

In the area of mental health, the company now offers a service for psychiatrists to use a patient’s genetic information to determine the best treatments for major depressive disorder, Forbes reported.

Lefkofsky told Forbes the company has reached significant scale in terms of revenue though the company is not yet profitable. He said Tempus benefits from two really exciting financial sector trends, complex genomic profiling and AI-driven health data.