Pohludka: New US branch begins our global journey
12th July 2022 “GeneSpector has succeeded with its covid diagnostics and has sales of over 25 million USD. However, it can help with other diseases as well and is heading for the global market,” reports an article on CzechCrunch – the Czech and Slovak equivalent of the well-known TechCrunch magazine.
Here is an abbreviated English version of the interview with Michal Pohludka.
Covid shot it into the spotlight and also into dizzying sales by local standards. But from the start, it was about much more than that. GeneSpector has been unprecedentedly active – certainly for a domestic spin-off, a company that was formed at university and then became independent. In the first few months of this year, it celebrated a year and a half of operation and an EBITDA of over 20 million USD. Now it has added another five to it.
Above all, sister company GeneSpector Innovations has just established a branch in the United States. It plans to bring to the world not only rapid diagnosis of respiratory diseases, but also help with kidney diseases or test the condition of the intestines.
Original GeneSpector is a company that grew up on covid. Experts from Charles University were able to make the PCR testing method faster, simpler and more efficient, so that at the time when the pandemic was at its strongest in the country, every third PCR test evaluated in the Czech Republic used a solution from them.
“A group of people who are highly motivated to make a difference in the field of biomedicine has emerged. We’ve been working on other applications outside of covid for over a year now.”describes Michal Pohludka, co-founder and CEO at GeneSpector Innovations.
Not long ago Pohludka returned from the United States. He flew there to meet investors. But also to learn how the US universities work or how they get projects to the market. The pharmaceutical and medical field is specific. The market is extremely regulated and complex, Pohludka clarifies. For a company, it is essential to connect with partners and, thanks to them, enter the world with own products, i.e. get help for GeneSpector Innovations to make it’s way into distribution networks.
“For the technologies we have, we need to team up with a big company and go global with it. We wouldn’t be able to do that from the Czech Republic. It’s much easier for us to go from the other side, even though we are not primarily targeting the United States,”explains Pohludka the purpose of the new US branch.
While GeneSpector grew out of a global pandemic, its sister company GeneSpector Innovations has set out to help with other diseases. And it’s the one that opened an overseas office. Contracts are already signed, products are already on the US market. Not exactly publicly available, but a clinical trial for a drug is underway.
“Our diagnostic approach is very interesting for the American market. It is already included in clinical trials,”Pohludka says.
Both GeneSpector and GeneSpector Innovations can rely on scientists with vast expertise, they have a lot to choose from. Pohludka shows a list of projects in various stages of development – from the initial ones to patent pending – and he scrolls through the spreadsheet on his computer for a long time. There are dozens of them. One of the most important ones in it is a project to recognise kidney disease, which is expected to receive a patent soon. It can cheaply and very early detect inherited diseases that so far only expensive genetic screening has been able to find.
But there are many more interesting ones. Other projects look at how people could test themselves on certain parameters in the comfort of their own homes. For example, they could prick themselves on the finger and find out their condition from two drops of blood sent to a laboratory. Or similarly from saliva. A predictor of a serious respiratory infectious disease already has an international patent and clinical trial: not just for Covid, but flu or any other.
“It’s a diagnosis we’re all too familiar with now, from the nasopharynx. From the sample we are able to tell not only if the person is positive, but also if they have another infection. And most importantly, what the course will be. Like if the person is going to end up in the ICU, even before that happens. It’s crucial. Treatment is most effective from the beginning of the infection until it has a complicated course,”describes Pohludka.
Then there are other possibilities as well: one in two people have digestive problems and abdominal pain at some point in their lives, whether from stress or anything else. And diagnosticians could test the gut microbiome based on a home sample. Such tests could show the origin of problems and how to avoid them. Pohludka would like to connect the whole system in an application that can be based on laboratory and genetic results, but also uses other modern technologies.
In addition to its own projects, GeneSpector Innovations recently acquired a ten percent stake in IQS nano. It is a subsidiary of a company that creates security features on banknotes such as holograms, can make nano-prints and can create almost anything in the miniature world.
„And when someone is able to make structures in nanospace and produce it in millions almost for free, it’s an extremely interesting tool to take into the bioworld. What’s done in test tubes now can be done in nanospace. You take a drop. You create organs on a slide. You test the molecules. You don’t have to inject mice and other animals and wait to see if it kills them. It opens up a spectrum of applications that can tremendously benefit not only diagnostics, but research and development,“says Pohludka enthusiastically.
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Link to the original article on CzechCrunch is available HERE.