July 14, 2014 Issue
The Most Powerful Name In Corporate News and Information
Genetically Tested Personalized Medicine for Neuropsychiatry
Genomind is a personalized
medicine company comprised of innovative researchers and expert leaders in
psychiatry and neurology. The Genecept™ Assay, Genomind’s core product, is
a comprehensive saliva-based genetic test used to help inform clinician
treatment decisions. By understanding a patient’s biological and
physiological profile, clinicians can tailor more effective treatment for
their psychiatric patients by choosing more appropriate doses and classes of
medication while reducing side effect, adverse events and drug-drug
interactions. For more information log onto www.genomind.com or call
100 Highpoint Drive, Suite 102
Chalfont, PA 18914
Interview conducted by: Lynn Fosse, Senior Editor, CEOCFO Magazine, Published – July 14, 2014
CEOCFO: Mr. Koffler, would you tell us the concept behind Genomind?
Mr. Koffler: We are a personalized medicine company and our mission is to improve the lives of patients with mental illness. We are bringing personalized medicine to neuropsychiatry by way of genetic testing. Our genetic test uses a saliva sample to tell clinicians what treatments are likely to have their intended effect, what treatments are likely to not work or result in adverse effects and how to think through dosing. We provide a tool for psychiatrists, primary care physicians, nurse practitioners and other clinicians to help get the medications and treatments right the first time with their patients.
CEOCFO: What is the test measuring?
Mr. Koffler: The test is looking for genetic variances within ten genes. Three of the genes are pharmacokinetic and focus on drug metabolism. Seven of the genes are pharmacodynamic which helps determine what medications do to your body.
CEOCFO: Why psychiatry? Could this test be used in other circumstance?
Mr. Koffler: There is genetic testing in fields outside of psychiatry. It is a multibillion-dollar business in oncology. Genetic testing in the field of psychiatry is probably at a level where it was a decade ago in oncology. The reason we are doing it in psychiatry is that is in our DNA, no pun intended. Our chairman and cofounder, Dr. Ronald Dozoretz, was a practicing psychiatrist for twenty years and his career has been dedicated to the mental health space. Our other cofounder Dr. Jay Lombard is a neurologist who has treated neuropsychiatric disorders for most of his career. Everything we do is focused on improving mental health.
CEOCFO: Where is genetic testing inside psychiatry today?
Mr. Koffler: It is early and it is generally accepted when we can get in front of clinicians. The issue is not whether it works or whether there is a good hypothesis; it is a great hypothesis and it clearly works -- we have the data to prove it. The issue is that many clinicians just do not know about it yet. It is much more widely accepted than it was when we started to commercialize our tests a little over three years ago. For us, the biggest competition is treatment as usual -- many clinicians are still not yet aware that there is a way to incorporate genetic testing within a psychiatric practice. It is gaining acceptance, and at the highest levels of psychiatry, it is well known. Most of the key opinion leaders in the field are using genetic testing and many are associated with our company.
CEOCFO: How do you help convince people?
Mr. Koffler: We partner with clinicians and we take a high touch approach to educate them about the value of our test in helping to treat their patients. We work with them to seamlessly integrate our test into their practice without slowing down the cadence within their office. That means making sure that they know how to clearly and convincingly communicate test results to patients so they can understand what our report means, and how to utilize the information to make treatment decisions.
CEOCFO: Why would it be an issue explaining to a patient that you need saliva to determine the best medicine?
Mr. Koffler: It is not much of an issue because we communicate it in the right way - but it is a relatively new concept. The means through which psychiatrists treat patients is changing – treatment decisions used to be almost exclusively based on a patient’s report of their symptoms and medical history. There has not historically been objective markers involved in psychiatric practice. It is a new concept that people are not yet familiar with, and it needs to be explained the right way. Also, working successfully with clinicians requires more than just explaining what genetic testing is. It also requires helping clinicians understand how they can use the information we provide to better treat their patients.
CEOCFO: Would you tell us what a typical result might be and how a doctor would use the result?
Mr. Koffler: A typical result might be that you get a certain variance in your 2D6 gene, which focuses on drug metabolism. The variance would imply that the patient is a slow metabolizer of certain medications. What that would mean is the doctor should use more caution and start with a lower dose for certain drugs that are metabolized through the 2D6 gene. It means that instead of one-size-fits-all or instead of providing a certain dose of medication based on somebody’s height or weight or their overall health and how old they are, it is another factor that helps the doctor understand the most appropriate dose for that patient.
CEOCFO: What is the plan for the next year?
Mr. Koffler: The plan for the next year is to grow. The market is still in the early stage of development. The more clinicians we get in front of, the more we grow. The most important thing we can do in terms of growth is to spread the word and educate more clinicians. For the next year or so our focus is going to be almost exclusively on growth, getting in front of more clinicians and helping as many patients as possible. In the longer term, we have products that are in the planning stages and we will bring them to market, which includes an expansion of our current genetic assay. As we progress and provide the genetic assay to more clinicians, we are collecting valuable data. We are collecting a ton of feedback from clinicians in the field, and we are able to use this data to improve what we offer. Amongst others, we also have a blood based screening test for mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease, and we are looking to bring that to market probably in the next few years.
CEOCFO: Are you funded for the next steps or will you be seeking funding or partnerships?
Mr. Koffler: Yes and yes. We were initially funded by our founder Dr. Ronald Dozoretz. In the spring we did raise financing through Claritas Capital, a VC firm in Nashville Tennessee. They funded us to continue focusing on growth and expansion of our product line.
CEOCFO: Is there direct competition for Genomind?
Mr. Koffler: Success does bring about competition, but for us right now because the market is in such an early stage, in many ways competition can be beneficial if people are helping bring about greater awareness of the benefits of genetic testing in psychiatry. Our biggest competition right now is treatment as usual. It is the fact that many clinicians do not yet know that genetic testing in psychiatry is available and that it works.
CEOCFO: What has been the biggest surprise for you?
Mr. Koffler: The sincerity and diversity of feedback we receive from our clinicians. It ranges from clinicians sending us hand-written letters personally thanking us for helping them treat their patients better to detailed collaborative case studies. We have case studies and testimonials from clinicians about the patients they have had for years, but that they could not figure out how best to treat them; the information that we provided helped them get it right. Our clinicians are personally invested in their patients’ well-being, and we have a product that helps their business by helping their patients.
CEOCFO: Why pay attention to Genomind?
It is new and innovative. We are helping change and improve the way patients
are treated. The field is ripe for major advancements and giant leaps
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