22 Jul Interview with Don Brown of LifeOmic
Dr. Don Brown is the most successful serial software entrepreneur in the Midwest. His first company was acquired by EDS in 1986. He founded Software Artistry in 1988 which became the first software company in Indiana ever to go public and was later acquired by IBM for $200 million. Don then founded and served as CEO of Interactive Intelligence which went public in 1999 and was acquired by Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories in 2016 for $1.4 billion. Read his full bio.
Interview with Don Brown of LifeOmic
Q: What need is LifeOmic addressing?
A: Precision Medicine requires the aggregation of huge data sets, including data representing individual patients from the level of their genomes all the way up through various levels of their phenomes. LifeOmic has created a cloud-based platform that can combine such data for millions of patients, including data from electronic medical records to genetic tests, diagnostic images and even mobile fitness tracker data. Powerful machine learning capabilities allow LifeOmic customers such as healthcare providers and medical researchers to identify new biomarkers, analyze trends and even predict health problems before they are clinically diagnosed.
Q: What are the products and/or services LifeOmic offers/develops to address this need? What makes LifeOmic unique?
A: In addition to a cloud platform capable of aggregating, indexing and analyzing all types of patient information, LifeOmic has created a complementary mobile app called LIFE Extend for population health and personal wellness. With this app, individuals can combine telemetry data from fitness trackers and other mobile devices with their medical records, genetic tests and other health information. LifeOmic’s “AI in the sky” can continuously monitor each individual, calculate a precise “biological age,” and offer personalized recommendations to realize the potential of precision health. The LIFE Extend app also leverages gamification and social interaction to make it fun to use. With LIFE Extend, LifeOmic can offer providers and researchers direct access to patients, many of whom are willing to share all of their medical information to further research.
Q: What is your role at LifeOmic and what excites you about your work?
A: I’m the founder and CEO of LifeOmic. After earning an MD and a graduate degree in computer science, I spent three decades building large software companies that had nothing to do with the life sciences. With the sale of my most recent company – Interactive Intelligence (NASDAQ:ININ) for $1.4B in 2016, I was finally free to assemble a world class team spanning cloud software development, machine learning, security, genetics, bioinformatics, cancer and mobile apps in forming LifeOmic. After 18 months working largely in stealth mode with disease teams at the Indiana University School of Medicine, we’re finally ready to show off what our nearly 50 scientists and engineers have created.
Q: When thinking about LifeOmic and the domain LifeOmic is working in, what are some of the recent breakthroughs that are propelling the field forward and how will they impact healthcare?
A: LifeOmic has been fortunate to lie at the nexus of three exponential trends – genomics, cloud computing and machine learning. For the first time in history it’s possible to assemble a comprehensive view of a human being from their germline whole genome sequence through various levels of phenotype (gene expression, molecular biomarkers, physiologic measurements, etc.). With cloud computing and machine learning, we can aggregate this information across millions of people and tease out hidden trends and associations. The field has been talking about “personalized” or “precision” medicine for a long time. Now we can finally deliver exactly that.
Q: What are the short-term challenges that LifeOmic and its peers are facing?
A: Perhaps one of the biggest challenges is keeping up with the explosion of new information – gene variations and their pathologic significance, protein-protein interactions, signaling pathways, etc. At LifeOmic, we’ve invested heavily in building a feature codenamed Gnosis that continuously pulls information from public data sets all over the world so that they can be used within our platform. This allows clinicians and researchers to understand patient information within the context of the latest knowledge available – whether for understanding which mutations are driving a patient’s cancer or which combination of approved small molecules might inhibit an overactive signaling pathway.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with the PMWC audience?
A: LifeOmic, we think there’s a huge need for a cloud-based platform that can inexpensively store huge amounts of patient data and apply the latest machine learning tools to it. That’s what we’ve built with the Precision Health Cloud. By taking an API-first approach, we’ve tried to make the platform simple to get started with, easy to access and extremely extensible. Our cloud has become the lynchpin of the Indiana University Precision Health Initiative. We’re hoping to develop additional collaborations to help make the tremendous promise of precision medicine a reality.