by Mark Carter
Posted 5/13/2014 11:26 am
Updated 3 months ago
Pharmacogenetics refers to the study of how individual patients metabolize and respond to certain drugs and treatments.
It represents a growing market, and Mark McCuin, president of Conway software startup Pathagility, believes the firm is positioned to be a leader in the pharmacogenetics field.
Pathagility, a client firm of Innovate Arkansas, helps medical laboratories collect clinical data and produce lab reports that can be distributed electronically to physicians and patients.
"We shifted our focus away from doing custom development and consulting work with laboratories and began to focus on providing a pure Software-as-a-Service offering targeted to new labs or labs that were providing this new type of testing," McCuin said. "Much of the new growth in the overall laboratory space is in molecular diagnostics. It's currently a $6 billion market and growing rapidly. PGx represents a particularly high-growth segment of this market. Our longer term vision is to expand into other laboratory markets, but right now we are focused on becoming the de-facto report generation software for the PGx testing industry."
McCuin wants to change the way PGx results are reported by labs.
"Over the past year, Pathagility has been focused on providing the budding PGx testing market with game changing lab reporting," he said.
New features aimed at the PGx market include patient portal functionality; an integrated self-service tool for manipulating and testing the lab's genetic rule set called Designer; and Pathagility's "next generation" PGx lab report.
"The potential is big," McCuin said. "Everyday, more is understood about our genetic makeup and applied to improving health care on a highly personalized basis. New laboratories will be developed and existing labs will add new molecular diagnostic tests to answer the demands of patients and their physicians who are becoming more aware of the personalized benefits of analyzing genetic code."
Pathagility co-founder Kristian Andersen splits his time between Conway and Indianapolis, where he runs the strategic design firm KA+A. He serves as Pathagility's chief marketing officer, and through KA+A has been working to integrate the Conway firm into the PGx consciousness --"helping shape the Pathagility brand, product strategy and user experience."
"We happen to think that the opportunity is extraordinary," Andersen said. "The role that genetic testing will play in the future of health care cannot be overstated, and Pathagility is one of the early players in this field. We believe that this market is going to transform health care, and we are working hard to make sure that we are the standard for reporting test data."
McCuin said the firm's PGx journey is just beginning: Pathagility team members continue to redesign aspects of their software for the PGx market.
"We are very focused on attacking the PGx market opportunity that has emerged in recent years," he said. "We sincerely believe that we are positioned better than anyone else in this space to become the de-facto software platform for PGx test report generation."
To that end, McCuin said Pathagility is "pursuing both an aggressive research and development strategy, and pursuing an aggressive approach to customer acquisition, education and outreach."
"We are also investing in our platform in such a way that we will continue to be able to support and enhance our existing client relationships," he said.
Pathagility enjoys what McCuin calls a "predominately virtual working environment." Officially based in Conway with McCuin, Pathagility's key team members (McCuin; Andersen; Chad Files, director of operations; Kyle Harrell, director of business development; and Brandon Willis, director of technology) are spread among Conway, Little Rock, San Antonio and Indianapolis. The firm has access to conference facilities in west Little Rock when clients visit.
"Otherwise we get together wherever makes the most sense," McCuin said. "This has worked very well for our team and has allowed us to run leaner as we ramp up. A dedicated, physical office is almost certainly in our future as we continue to scale our development, sales and implementation staff to support our growing business."
An increase of 250 percent in a startup firm's MRR is a good start.
"We are very excited about our growth over the past 12 months, but we’re not satisfied with it," McCuin said. "Our strategy calls for us to actually increase our rate of growth dramatically over the course of the next year. We are literally just beginning to realize the potential for this business and, as a result, we are investing in the critical, structural aspects of the business that will allow us to scale quickly and efficiently for years to come."