By Mary Vanac
AssureRx is pioneering a diagnostics market within the emerging practice of personalized medicine. The Cincinnati-area company has developed a genetic testing system that helps doctors pick the right psychiatric drugs for patients, based on their genes.
In October, AssureRx launched its first test, GeneSightRx, which uses a cheek swab, mathematical algorithms and bioinformatics to narrow drug choices to those that work with a patient’s genes.
Founded in 2006 to commercialize research from Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, AssureRx initially is targeting neuro-psychiatric and neuro-behavioral disorders because they represent the largest unmet patient need.
Because the AssureRx test is positioned to help a large patient segment, the company also has a large market opportunity. CEO Jim Burns sees an annual U.S. market of about $3 billion per year “on the low end.”
“It’s a potentially transformative kind of technology,” Burns said.
In April, Burns said his company was trying to raise between $8 million and $10 million from institutional investors for its second financing round.
Since 2006, AssureRx has raised about $5 million from investors including Queen City Angels, CincyTech, the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati, Blue Chip Venture, Cincinnati Children’s Tomorrow Fund and individual investors.
The company planned to use the new round of investor money “for clinical development, market development and further product development to expand the market base and build future products,” Burns said at the time.
Future products might include tests that help doctors choose medications for patients who have neuro-degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, as well as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.
AssureRx also has plans to grow.
“We have 11 employees right now,” Burns said in April. “We’ll be growing to about 30 — nearly tripling — within the next 12 months.”