Endpoint Health Inc. has made its official debut, scooping up $12 million in debt and equity financing from a host of investors, including Mayfield, Y Combinator, Ame Cloud Ventures and Wireframe Ventures.
The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company is focused on helping people with illnesses such as sepsis and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) – life-threatening conditions often caused by serious infections, including COVID-19. Now, it will continue on its path to combine novel and on-market therapeutics, companion diagnostics and artificial intelligence (AI) into an integrated platform designed to help patients suffering from these conditions.
The company boasts an experienced team, including the co-founders of Geneweave, an infection detection and therapy guidance company that was acquired by Roche AG in a 2015 deal valued at $425 million. That firm was focused on technology aimed at fighting drug-resistant bacteria.
Ursheet Parikh, leader of the healthcare & genomics investment practice for Mayfield, noted that his group was proud to be partnered with the company. “The founders aspire to build a new category of health care company that can address the massive medical needs of critically ill patients which remain unmet by the established health care industry.”
Jason Springs, co-founder and CEO of Endpoint Health, pointed out that critical illnesses make up half of U.S. hospital mortality and more than $100 billion of the country’s annual health care spend. “Sepsis alone is associated with as many global deaths as cancer each year, and yet patients with these life-threatening illnesses still have few treatment options,” he added.
Hector Wong, director of critical care medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, highlighted the complexities of treating conditions like sepsis and ARDS. “These aren’t single diseases, they’re heterogeneous syndromes, and we can see this in clinical practice – some patients respond to a specific therapy, while others with similar clinical presentation don’t. We need to target therapies to the right patient at the right time to gain real improvement.”
He also pointed to how that approach has improved outcomes in oncology, and there is great potential for doing the same in critical care.
Formed in 2018, Endpoint Health early on identified one of its targets as sepsis. Even before COVID-19, the condition had a $60 billion per year impact in terms of costs in the U.S. Further, it was linked to more global deaths than cancer each year (11 million vs. 9.6 million).
And now the pandemic has shined a light on this space, Springs told BioWorld. “[T]he COVID-19 pandemic has brought great focus on critical illness – nearly 100% of deaths here are due to the critical illnesses such as sepsis and ARDS that COVID-19 causes,” he explained. “In light of this, we felt it was important to highlight a potential new way of approaching how we treat critical illness, especially since it impacts both the patients and the clinicians on the front lines. Second, as we expand our partnering activities it is important for the clinicians and pharma companies we work with to know our story and see where positive clinical and business potential could exist. We're doing something very new in the field of critical illness so educating the market is important.”
When asked how Endpoint Health is aiming to fit all the pieces together, Springs explained that the company uses AI techniques to analyze digital and molecular data from patients to understand their biology. It also assesses how distinct patient subgroups may respond to new and existing therapies and designs blood tests and electronic algorithms that could identify these subgroups. It is hoped these tests can be used as companion diagnostics to target both new therapies and routine care choices.
The company then looks for pharma companies owning rights to therapies that it has identified as having the potential to improve patient outcomes. Typically, these candidates are in development or are used in other indications.
“We then enter in-licensing or co-development partnerships and use our companion diagnostic products in clinical trials to target the candidate therapies to critically ill patients that are likely to respond positively.”
Upon the successful completion of a trial, the diagnostic and therapy could be approved as an integrated product. “The goal is to bring multiple targeted therapies to market and to personalize how current routine care is delivered for critically ill patients.”
Springs told BioWorld that the company will announce its partnerships as they mature. Looking ahead to the next 12 to 18 months, Endpoint Health will remain focused on the development and validation of its software solution and kick off late-stage clinical trials.