All systems are go at Genomenon, a software-as-a-service company spun out of the University of Michigan in 2014 that offers products designed to improve the efficiency and accuracy of genomic-sequence analysis.
“The company is doing phenomenally well,” reports CEO Mike Klein, who joined Genomenon in August 2016. “Our sales pipeline, customer relationships, the market demand and interest in our products are all strong. We’re getting really good traction in the marketplace.”
Last year, Genomenon launched its flagship product, Mastermind, a revolutionary genomic search engine and database of disease-related genes and variants. To date, Mastermind has indexed the text of nearly six million genomic articles drawn from medical and scientific literature. The search engine connects a patient’s genomic data with this scientific evidence to enable pathologists and geneticists to analyze the patient’s DNA for cancer or genetic diseases.
Through this technology, Mastermind is changing the way genetic diagnoses and discoveries are made by providing rapid insights into prioritized relevant literature for both clinical decision making and research projects. It also has improved the accuracy of diagnoses by minimizing the errors associated with a manual curation process.
Currently, Genomenon is generating revenue from 13 customers using Mastermind Professional Edition or licensing the Mastermind data. Last October, the company pivoted and released a free version of the search-engine platform to drive greater product awareness and adoption. Since then, it has signed up 750 additional users across 30 countries.
In February, Genomenon announced two partnership deals: a data-sharing arrangement with Swiss-based Saphetor and a licensing agreement with GenomeNext, located in Ohio. The new deals will raise Genomenon’s visibility within the partner companies’ customer bases and markets. GenomeNext also has agreed to pay a licensing fee to integrate the Mastermind search results into its Olympus Platform, according to Klein. He hints that more deals are in the works.
Genomenon raised $900,000 in seed financing in 2015, and an additional $1.8 million the following year after co-founder Mark Kiel, M.D., presented to angel and venture capital investors at the 2016 Michigan Growth Capital Symposium.
“At the symposium, Mark connected with Rehmann, an Ann Arbor-based financial-services firm that operates an angel investment fund,” Klein explains. Other local investors participated with Rehmann in the $1.8 million seed round, including InvestMichigan!, Invest Detroit Ventures, the Michigan Angel Fund and the U-M’s Monroe-Brown Biomedical Seed Fund. Two venture investors, Patti Glaza and Sonya Sepahban, also took seats on Genomenon’s board of directors.
At the 2017 MGCS, Klein made a soft informational pitch to investors, in part to introduce himself as the new CEO and to lay the groundwork for a future round of financing.
“When you’re running a startup company, it’s important to build relationships with investors over time, so they can see how well the business is doing,” he says. “We will begin raising a $5 million Series A round of funding this summer, so we need to have established relationships and ongoing conversations with potential investors.”