University of Chicago physicians Mark Ratain and Peter O’Donnell created the Genomic Prescribing System based on a simple hypothesis—that patients and healthcare providers would be eager to incorporate genetic information into decisions about prescribing medical treatments if they had the tools to do so. So, they set out to develop a new model for personalized care that provides physicians with an accessible resource.
Their efforts recently received a boost when the University of Chicago Innovation Fund awarded the team $100,000 to support their work on GPS, which has the potential to help physicians make better prescribing decisions based on pharmacogenomics information.
GPS was one of four UChicago-affiliated projects that received a total of $314,300 in venture funding this spring. Other awardees include ventures that are developing new technology that could improve sexual health education for students, cancer treatments and operating room efficiency. Added to the projects funded this winter, the Innovation Fund has invested nearly $600,000 in UChicago ventures this year.
GPS combines a custom genetic test panel, an expertly curated database, and a user-friendly interface. The team studied the personalized medicine system at the University of Chicago as part of “The 1200 Patients Project,” with support from the University’s Center for Personalized Therapeutics.
“Based on the success of the 1200 Patients Project, we believe the GPS model represents an exciting paradigm-shift for healthcare and personalized medicine,” said O’Donnell, assistant professor of medicine and principle investigator for GPS. “We are looking forward to building a more robust tool and validating the system in other hospital and healthcare systems as a result of this funding.”
Spring 2014 Innovation Fund Projects
Ratain, the Leon O. Jacobson professor of medicine, chair of the committee on clinical pharmacology and pharmacogenomics and director of the Center for Personalized Therapeutics, and O’Donnell comprised one of seven teams invited this spring to submit proposals and present ideas to the Innovation Fund advisory committee’s venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and business strategy experts. The committee selected four ventures for funding.
“Through the Innovation Fund we help ventures that have progressed beyond basic research grant funding but are too early in their development to attract venture capital or licensing opportunities,” said John Flavin, executive director of the Chicago Innovation Exchange. “With so much great research and technological development happening all across the University, we’re able to play a critical role in backing these teams as they take their ideas to the next stage.”