StartR Accelerator's Genrix Paving the Way for Next Generation Cancer Bioinformatics and Precision Medicine
A fall 2014 StartR company, Genrix (formerly known as Insilico Scientific), has developed an algorithm to help drug companies optimize clinical trial outcomes and get more drugs to the market, thereby enabling more personalized and faster cancer treatment. StartR is a six-month, nonprofit accelerator designed to help Rady School students and alumni to create profitable companies.
Andrew LeBlanc (MBA '15), a computer scientist, created Genrix as his Lab to Market project after being introduced to the concept of the innovation economy at the Rady School and realizing San Diego's growing need for entrepreneurs to support its thriving biotechnology and health sciences industries.
Through the Rady School's Lab to Market program, LeBlanc developed a business plan, pitch, and marketing skills. "Every day was a chance to learn something new, and there was a continuous loop of presenting our ideas, receiving feedback, refining our idea and presenting again," said LeBlanc.
After Lab to Market ended, LeBlanc applied for and was admitted into the Rady School's StartR accelerator to further advance Genrix. "The experience made us think big, and helped us move from an academic project into something real," said LeBlanc. "The weekly discussions we had with experts Dr. Lada Rasochova and Kim Davis King, as well as meeting with a group of like minded entrepreneurs to freely and openly communicate our high points and low points of the week in an open, honest and nurturing environment were invaluable. Compare this to the 'Shark Tank'-like mentality of competition and winner takes all that is so common in the startup world."
Since graduating from StartR and presenting Genrix to investors, industry leaders and members of the Rady School at StartR Demo Day, Genrix has continued to spark interest in California and national startup communities. Genrix was selected as one of the top 25 most disruptive startups of 2014 from the University of California system. In 2015, Genrix was a semifinalist (top 35 out of 650 teams) in the Oxbridge Biotech Roundtable's OneStart Americas competition, the world's largest life sciences and healthcare startup accelerator program.
"Now that we have graduated from StartR, my co-founders joke that we are continuously unlocking achievements," said LeBlanc. "If you had told me a few years ago that I would be working on unlocking the secrets of life, pitching to billionaires, and flying to the Silicon Valley, I would not have believed you."