The revolutionary science

By: Galit Solomon February 4, 2019

Company: GeneNews, TSE: GEN, Toronto Stock Exchange
Chairman & CEO: James Howard- Tripp
Headquarters: Markham, Ontario, Canada
Number of locations: HQ in Markham; a full-service, CLIA and CAP approved reference laboratory in Richmond, Virginia.
In current role: 4 years
Place of birth: South Africa

It is a bold mission statement – “To reduce late stage cancer by 50% over the next 10 years through early intervention.” Some call it ambitious. Sceptics take it one step further saying it’s impossible. But the Chairman and CEO of GeneNews, James Howard-Tripp believes his company and the proprietary platform technology it has created, namely, the Sentinel Principle, is going to revolutionize the healthcare space, beginning with the fight against cancer. “It is groundbreaking and will allow us to do things from a population health perspective that cannot be done today! Everyone knows we need to diagnose cancer as early as possible because survival is then highest but, no-one can do it. We believe we can.”

Headquartered in Markham, Ontario, just north of Toronto, with a fully approved lab in Richmond, Virginia, GeneNews is focused on developing and commercializing proprietary molecular diagnostic tests using blood samples, for the early detection of cancer related illnesses. The team at GeneNews was responsible for developing ColonSentry®, one of the first blood-based tests, for the early detection of colorectal cancer. “To date, more than 100,000 patients in the US have benefited from this test,” according to Howard-Tripp. “In addition to the ColonSentry®, we offer three other tests – Early CDT-Lung, Prostate Health Index and Breast Sentry. These tests allow us to find cancer 2 to 4 years earlier than other modalities.”

The next generation of tests being designed by the scientists at GeneNews is called Aristotle and it’s expected to propel the company to the next level. “Using the ‘panel’ approach, we are able to screen for multiple cancers from a single sample of blood with Aristotle.” Up to 10 types of cancer in fact, including colorectal, breast, cervical, liver and stomach. “We may be the first company to screen for multiple cancers from one single sample of blood.”

Howard-Tripp says now is the time for investors to take note of the stock, citing three reasons. “With Aristotle we have a $2 billion opportunity in front of us. The current four products should take us to profitability and develop the commercial pathway for Aristotle. In addition, after the buy-out of the lab and re-organization, we are beginning to grow again. Two to three years of very hard work is coming to fruition. Finally, we are unique in that we have novel technology that can detect cancer early.”

At this time, GeneNews is focused on providing service to four categories of patients in the U.S. – large healthcare systems, medical practices, employees of high-risk organizations (ie. Fire fighters) and the

direct to consumer market. “We have also shown we can go beyond cancer – into neuroscience (Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s), CVD (heart failure) and virtually every other disease.”

Howard-Tripp attributes the success of GeneNews so far to a diverse team with a clear vision. “To build a successful company one needs a very good cross-discipline team with strong skill sets in all – finance, regulatory, clinical, basic science, marketing and sales and all bound together by project management. We have all of these. In small, rapidly growing companies, the team also has to share the spirit of entrepreneurial building and have a tolerance for risk, as well as changing and evolving job descriptions. They must revel in it, not fear it.”

It was a combination of Howard-Tripp’s passion for science and his business acumen that ultimately led him to GeneNews. “When I was very young in my career, I was fortunate enough to be given significant opportunities, with significant responsibility, to establish and grow medical/scientific businesses. I reveled in this!”

As for what’s ahead for GeneNews in 2019, Howard-Tripp says, “A successful Q1 and Q2, showing good progress. Hitting our revenue target of $30 million for the year and becoming fully profitable. And finally, making Aristotle Cancer deliver on its promise.”