Canadian scaleup DNALabs spearheads US expansion from base in Boca
Genetic testing scaleup DNALabs is expanding to the US and has chosen Boca Raton as its stateside hub.
The company will be based in Florida Atlantic University’s Research Park. They are taking part in the university’s Global Ventures program, which helps international startups grow their business in the US.
Moni Lustig, CEO of DNALabs, told Refresh Miami that Florida was top of their list as a destination for US expansion because of the region’s generally favorable weather conditions, central location, and accessibility to major airports.
FAU sweetened the deal. “We found [FAU] to be the perfect fit,” asserted Lustig. “We want to be collaborating with faculty on research projects.” DNALabs plans to run these research projects in conjunction with the university’s academics. They also hope to find a pipeline of top scientific talent through FAU’s student body.
Aaron Goldman, DNALabs’ Chief Science Officer, expressed excitement about the FAU connection. “As we do research, we want to publish – and that can help our brand name while also potentially getting some grant money for FAU,” he said. “It can be a real win-win.”
DNALabs develops and commercializes a range of genetic tests. Many of their products are in the realm of pharmacogenomics, or the study of how a patient’s genetic makeup influences their response to medications. “Everyone metabolizes drugs at different rates,” Goldman explained. If you metabolize a drug too slowly, you risk having toxic levels in your system. Conversely, said Goldman, “if you’re a very fast metabolizer, you take the drug and it flows through your body so quickly that it never accumulates to therapeutic levels.”
Their MatchMyMeds product helps consumers find the best medication dosage for their body and needs. DNALabs’ TestMyTolerance kit, which is not yet currently available in the US, enables users to gauge their sensitivity to cannabis.
Most of DNALabs’ kits are sold through health care providers such as naturopathic doctors, chiropractors, and dietitians – as well as at hospitals and pharmacies. The company plans to continue this B2B model when it lands Stateside, with a view to approach the B2C market towards the end of next year.
This US expansion comes on the heels of the company’s rapid growth during the pandemic. “Covid multiplied our business by a lot,” asserted Lustig. “People were looking for ways to improve their health, so it actually opened a lot of doors for us.” Unlike many medical device companies, Lustig reports that DNALabs has not suffered from any supply chain issues.
Before founding DNALabs in August 2017, Lustig worked as a real estate developer and investor, and Aaron worked as the Director of Genomics Services at the University Health Network/Mount Sinai Hospital Clinical Genomics Centre in Toronto.
The company currently has just under 30 full time employees. Lustig said that the goal is to have half their staff on either side of the border by midway through 2022.
Check out DNALab’s range of genomic testing products by visiting their website, DNALabs.ca.
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