With nine patent applications and grants from NASA and the US Deptartment of Health & Human Services, InnaMed is working to power personalized medicine with blood tests done from home. The Y-Combinator-backed team is led by CEO Eshwar Inapuri who has a background in research and development at the University of Pennsylvania. He, along with his team of scientists and entrepreneurs, is aiming to disrupt the at-home diagnostic toolkit market. InnaMed generated more than $1.4 million in revenue in 2020 through its multi-year collaborations.
We spoke with Eshwar and his team earlier this year to discuss his visions for InnaMed, a KingsCrowd Top Deal.
Note: This interview was conducted over phone and email. It has been lightly edited for clarity and length.
Can you give us a brief elevator pitch for your company?
InnaMed aims to make monitoring and analyzing blood test data fast and seamless. Blood monitoring is a key component of getting the right patients on the right therapies, at the right doses — but today’s process is far too tedious. InnaMed’s flagship product, the HomeLab® system, enables push button blood testing in the home. InnaMed has a land and expand commercial strategy with its first target market being virtual clinical trials. The company is fundraising to launch its platform and execute on pilot collaborations.
What inspired you to take the leap and build this company?
There’s a clear disconnect between the pace of scientific and technical advancement in the biotech industry (fast) and the pace of improvement in the day-to-day experiences of patients and healthcare workers (slow). InnaMed was founded to help bridge that gap. Interfacing with the healthcare system is notoriously challenging. Scheduling appointments, determining insurance coverage, traveling, waiting, filling out paperwork, testing/scanning, picking up prescriptions, etc… The list of manual tasks goes on and on. As founders, we were inspired to take a piece of this journey and distill it to its most simplest form, beginning to build the next generation of patient-centric healthcare infrastructure.
What past experiences prepared you to start, build, and lead your company?
My co-founder (Anup Singh) and I met while performing research in the same bioengineering lab at the University of Pennsylvania. Our technical backgrounds in diagnostics allow us to be nimble and innovative while focusing on intellectual property and product development. Our experiences at the Y-Combinator startup accelerator also provide us with strategic insights and business savvy in planning for commercial execution.
What is your vision for the future of the industry you are operating in?
We envision the HomeLab hardware and software playing a critical role in enabling virtual pharmaceutical clinical trials across the globe. We also aim to have several FDA-cleared products available for clinical use (outside of research settings) to make achieving optimal treatment of any given patient easier.
Who is on your team and how did you come together?
Apart from myself and Anup, Ken Fang, MD and Tom Larson also provide leadership to the company. Ken previously served as Chief Medical Officer at Diadexus and Integrated Dx and as Senior Director at CareDx. We met Ken in 2017 while in YCombinator, and he has been instrumental in guiding our clinical development efforts since then. Tom was previous Chief Commercial Officer at Ascendis Pharma, and prior to that led launches of some of the most successful drugs including Humira and Pradaxa. He now leads our commercial discussions with pharmaceutical companies.
Do you have any competition, if so, how do you differentiate?
Athelas and Scanwell are two companies that come to mind that operate in the home clinical trial space. Their technologies are focused on cell counting and urine analysis, respectively. Our technology is different in that we can analyze blood samples for proteins and molecules, which is a requirement for many clinical trials. Other blood testing companies require shipping samples from the home to a lab or traveling to a clinic, both of which are suboptimal.
What does your business model look like?
Pharmaceutical companies or their contract research organizations will be paying for the product in the clinical trial market. We are aiming to use a subscription license model (similar to how someone pays for a Microsoft Office license on a monthly subscription basis). Pricing will be dependent on the exact solution being implemented for the customer (types of tests, software features, number of patients, etc.).
What brought you to equity crowdfunding and how do you intend to use the money you raise this round to scale the business?
Crowdfunding has its benefits. You get access capital faster, and your investors become an army of advocates for your product. We plan to use the proceeds from this raise to get initial units of the product into the hands of patients for clinical studies while continuing to execute on our pilot partnerships with pharma. Later this year we plan to raise an institutional round of capital to achieve FDA clearance and production scale up.
What do you want potential investors to know about you and/or your company?
The market need is real, and your capital will help us offer a solution that can both be financially lucrative and also improve patient quality of life.
As you think about the business 5-10 years down the road, what do you see exit opportunities looking like? have you set any future goals for the company?
We anticipate acquisition opportunities arising when we achieve FDA clearance. We would analyze these opportunities and decide whether to consider them or aim for continued growth with a goal towards IPO at that time.
We at KingsCrowd are excited to see where Eshwar and his team take the company. InnaMed is currently raising on Wefunder.