Interview with Jurgi Camblong, CEO of SOPHiA GENETICS
SOPHiA GENETICS was founded in 2011 by Jurgi Camblong, Lars Steinmetz and Pierre Hunter. Nine years on, the company has more than 350 employees across the world with offices in Switzerland, France and the US, and provides data-driven analytics solutions to hospitals, labs and biopharma companies in 85 countries. Endeavour Vision first invested in SOPHiA in 2014 and, through its EMG II fund, participated in the company’s recent Series F funding round which raised USD 110m.
CEO Jurgi Camblong talks to Endeavour about how the company’s technology, the universal SOPHiA Platform, is democratising and decentralising Data-Driven Medicine to improve outcomes for more patients, and even helping to bring solutions for COVID-19 patients.
Where did the idea for SOPHiA GENETICS come from?
SOPHiA was founded with the vision to improve the diagnosis and treatment of diseases by merging new capabilities in life sciences, such as genomics and proteomics, with technological advances in mathematical computing and machine learning. This idea has proven to be a game changer in the field of cancer, ultimately leading to the development of the SOPHiA Platform. Today, SOPHiA helps to diagnose one patient every 4 minutes, and over the course of a month, benefits thousands of patients with cancer or hereditary diseases all over the world.
What are the benefits of the SOPHiA Platform for hospitals and labs?
SOPHiA uses real-world data and predictive models to provide insights to support clinical decision-making. The beauty of the model is in allowing users to be part of a platform comprising more than a thousand healthcare institutions across 85 countries. The more data that is added, the smarter it becomes, and this knowledge is shared which brings value to the whole community. Since the launch of SOPHiA, there has been an exponential growth in the number of genomic profiles on our platform with more than 640’000 to-date – this number is currently growing by 17’000 every month.
How is SOPHiA different to other data-analytics platforms?
SOPHiA is unique in the number of genomic profiles, the platform’s reach and because it employs a decentralised approach, respecting the capabilities of hospitals and labs to undertake the analyses and compute the data themselves. This means that diagnosis and treatment decisions can be made rapidly and in close proximity to the patient – a key consideration in life threatening diseases. Furthermore, new modalities of data are continuously being added, for example, radiomics which uses data from radiographic images to uncover disease characteristics that may not be visible to the eye: The addition of new data modalities and genomic profiles means that platform is constantly evolving.
Your customers also include biopharma companies – how do you help them?
We can help biopharma companies in developing new therapies in a much faster and smarter way. For example, by identifying new biomarkers for the discovery of new therapies, matching the right patient with the right treatment in clinical trials, and helping to follow patients over time to understand who has benefited from which therapies and why. Efficient drug development can lead to treatments being made available sooner and becoming more affordable.
Has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your company?
We have been involved in making a small difference to better understand the impact of COVID-19 by working with our hospital partners to compute the viral genome and monitor its evolution in acquiring new mutations. We have also been using radiomics data to predict which patients are more likely to have breathing difficulties and supporting partners to follow patients’ progress. Technological advances have been at the forefront of understanding the COVID-19 virus, and we are proud to be able to contribute our expertise and capabilities.