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One of the richest opportunities today for SaaS startups is in gene therapy and genetics information.

Two unicorns today are already prancing the field–23&Me and Gingko Bioworks. The sheer scale of the healthcare industry in the United States–almost 20% of our GDP–and its growth continue to make it a ripe target for the efficiencies of SaaS. Healthcare tools have been digitizing for decades, starting in diagnostics (smarter scans) and moving into treatment (think robo surgery). Digital tools have created smarter data sets, which is creating a big opportunity in healthcare to mine that data. So far, so good. But the largest new data set to come along is the human genome. New approaches like CRISPR and a deeper understanding of our biochemical nature is fueling a new breed of healthcare information technology.

Genetics and gene therapy ripe for disruption

Looking back, when you think SaaS and b2b healthcare, you often think of software startups that work on “the back end” of the business, like

  • Vendor management
  • Payments management, including insurance reimbursement, recovery, risk insurance, and other cashflow management optimization tools
  • Staff management, nurse sourcing, scheduling, and travel, and the like
  • Patient management — wait time prediction, satisfaction, etc.

Moving forward, the Valor team is bullish that software, and in particular SaaS models, will be part of how healthcare copes with:

  • treatment personalization running DNA analysis;
  • genomic testing process management;
  • finding patient/procedure fits for gene therapy;
  • drug and procedure virtual testing and trial digital simulation, to reducing development costs and making the final trial smaller;
  • post gene-therapy follow up testing patient management;
  • legal compliance; and
  • technology turbulence.

The big healthcare winners SaaS of the next few years will likely move to the “front end” of healthcare–not the vendor/payments/cashflow side, but the optimization of therapy.  Imagine a SaaS array that helps researchers and geneticists develop, test and personalize gene-driven therapies and protocols. Everyone’s genome opens up a new opportunity.  I recently wrote an article about 8 genetics and gene therapy startups that work on the technical side of treatment optimization that are on the edge of this wave.

Here’s a list of the over 50 genetics and gene therapy startups.

In 2017, each raised at least a million dollars–often far more– pursuing more effective gene therapies or applying gene therapy options. It’s just the beginning. As scientists, drug designers, and researchers work with the large data sets coming out of healthcare, new software stacks specifically suited to this task will be helping pave the way.

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