ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Brothers build genetic testing firm in Rochester

f39e2bf79eb02a60c7911109548149ec.jpg
Eric Snyder
We are part of The Trust Project.

A Rochester biotechnology firm is gaining momentum on the heels of new data as it moves into the individualized medicine market.

Geneticure Inc., created by John Marshall High School graduates and brothers Scott and Dr. Eric Snyder, is a genetic testing firm designed to find the best medicine "fit" for a patient.

Its inaugural test analyzes a patient’s blood to determine the best drug to treat hypertension, a common but potentially deadly condition that afflicts an estimated 100 million Americans.

A recent retrospective study of the test found that hypertension patients who used the medicine recommended by Geneticure saw their blood pressure fall 36 percentage points lower than patients who did not use medicine indicated by the test.

"It’s the biggest data finding to date. It’s a kind of big turning point for us," said Scott Snyder. "Rounding the corner out of a study with data that supports the hypothesis and then heading into a commercialization phase feels really good."

ADVERTISEMENT

Results of the retrospective study were recently presented to the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics and published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine.

The brothers formed the firm in 2013. Its offices are based in downtown Rochester, above Grand Rounds Brewing Co. The firm has about 12 employees, most whom live or work in Rochester.

Geneticure had a soft commercial launch in February, when it began testing for medical centers, directly for patients and for employees looking for better treatment for their workers.

Now they are looking to ramp that up and work toward getting approval for insurers to reimburse use of the test.

The brothers believe their test can eliminate the weeks of trial-and-error doctors use to adjust a patient’s high blood pressure or hypertension medication.

"It can take weeks and weeks … for physicians to find the right mix of medications for a patient with hypertension," said Scott Snyder.

While it’s headquartered in Rochester, Genticure’s origin story doesn’t involve Mayo Clinic, as one might expect.

Other than their star patient, Geneticure did not start in Rochester.

ADVERTISEMENT

Eric Snyder was doing genetic research at the University of Arizona when he and some others came up with the basics of this type of test. He showed it to his brother, Scott Snyder, who had experience with financing young companies. They decided this was something worth building into a company with Scott’s backing.

Since creating the firm, a variety of people have decided that the test had potential.

Rochester Economic Development Inc., the Southeast Minnesota Capital Fund, the Southwest Minnesota Initiative Foundation, the University of St. Thomas and Fairview Health Ventures have all invested in Geneticure.

Xavier Frigola, treasurer of the Southeast Minnesota Capital Fund, explained what made the Synders’ firm attractive.

"Geneticure has the potential to disrupt a large market — hypertension — with an individualized approach based on solid science. Geneticure has assembled a solid management team and has attracted a reputable group of investors that can continue providing financial support as they succeed and grow," he wrote. "Finally, it is a company based in Southeast Minnesota, which is our main area of interest for investment."

The Snyders have also tapped into Mayo Clinic’s wealth of experience in this area by bringing on David Herbert as an executive vice president of strategy.

The retired Mayo Clinic executive served as chairman for Global Business Solutions from 2011 to 2014 and director of business development at Mayo Medical Laboratories from 1998 to 2008. Before that, he worked at Mayo Medical Ventures.

As the Snyders and their team continue to forge ahead with the hypertension drug test, Geneticure has three other tests in the pipeline.

ADVERTISEMENT

Related Topics: FINANCE
What to read next
After keeping their compensation mostly flat in 2020, Mayo Clinic gave its executives big raises in 2021, with 26 employees earning more than $1 million.
Macario Guzman and Stephanie Ramgren are keeping the ice cream shop's name and retaining many of the same vendors.
Columnist Dean Swanson says XXX
With a new addition, Rush World recently doubled in size, offering now two turf fields to help keep up with the demand of providing safe soccer space for all ages and backgrounds.