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Entrepreneurship

 

Accelerator pitch: Jelena Aleksic of GeneAdviser

Can you pitch your genius business idea in the time it takes to get from the ground floor to the C-suite? GeneAdviser’s Jelena Aleksic, on the Cambridge Judge Business School Accelerate Cambridge programme, gives it a shot.

Concentrated college student analysing dna on digital interface in university library

The background

Unusual symptoms coupled with a lack of access to the latest genetic tests means it takes an average of six years to be diagnosed with a rare condition in the UK. With the right tests, that time could be cut to a few months. GeneAdviser.com aims to make those tests far easier to access – meaning that thousands could benefit.

The brains

I’m Jelena Aleksic and I work alongside Robert Stojnic. We both hold PhDs in genetics from the University of Cambridge (2012). I specialise in science communication while Robert’s area of expertise is software development.

The product

GeneAdviser.com is an online one-stop shop enabling clinicians to find good-quality, up-to-date information about a wide range of genetic tests and to order them from the laboratories that carry them out.

The business case

The price of DNA sequencing has dropped massively in the last five years. It’s now cheap enough to be part of standard clinical practice. But when a clinician wants to find out about these tests and who performs them, it takes a lot of his or her time to find this information. We want to make that process easier, and no such platform currently exists in Europe. For this service, we charge a small commission from the participating labs. They are very keen to work with us, as we will provide a marketing platform and also take care of the admin difficulties that they currently experience.

The timing

We founded the company last April and incorporated officially in November 2014. We’ve done our initial market research with labs in the UK and we hope to launch the website in summer 2015.

The strategy for growth

The more labs we sign on, the better – we are trying to create a comprehensive network of European labs. From there, we are reaching out to clinicians across Europe. At the moment, we’re mostly talking to clinical geneticists and paediatricians, as the rare disease field is of most interest to them.

The future

Genomic medicine is an incredibly exciting field. It’s a really promising time and I think it will transform 21st century medicine. We think there will be a number of other promising disease areas, such as non-invasive prenatal testing, and precision medicine for treating different kinds of cancers. All you need is a drop of blood.

The Accelerator

We are about to pitch for a £20k start-up grant via the Accelerate programme. As part of the pre-Accelerate group, we have had access to a range of expert mentors and exceptional business training, helping us get to where we are today. We now look forward to another three months on the Accelerate programme, helping us develop and push our business even further.