The DNA is our prescription: Q&A with Scott Snyder of Geneticure

A global destination for health and wellness, Rochester is home to many innovative healthcare entrepreneurs. 

Scott Snyder, Geneticure CEO

Brothers Scott and Eric Snyder launched their personalized medicine business, Geneticure, in Minnetonka in 2014. But four years later, the Rochester-born siblings recognized the mounting opportunity in their hometown as a result of Destination Medical Center and expanded the business to Rochester. The group originally occupied space in the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator but recently moved to their own location now operating out of the offices above Grand Rounds Brewing Company in downtown Rochester.

DMC sat down with Scott Snyder, Geneticure’s CEO, to learn more about the company and its decision to return to its Rochester roots.

DMC: Tell us about Geneticure. How did you get your start?

Snyder: My brother Eric was doing research at the University of Arizona at the time. He and two other scientists were working on genetic testing and discussing the future of disease treatment. That conversation led to an exploration of using DNA as a proactive way to predict which medications patients will respond to, rather than relying on the traditional method of trial-and-error which can be time-consuming, costly, and unsafe.

DMC: What products have you launched since your inception?

Snyder: Our first product was designed for patients with hypertension or high blood pressure (HBP). HPB is essentially a symptomless disease. Doctors will often administer a diuretic first, then if that doesn’t work, they’ll add a vasodilator, and so on. But they don’t take the first drug away, so patients are left with a layering effect of medicine and a long pattern of office visits. Layered medications lead to poorer compliance and some medications can be counter-productive (make blood pressure go up) There’s also not a lot of incentive for patients to stick to a year or more of trial-and-error. We’re trying to replace that through prediction, informing clinicians what each unique patient will respond to based on their DNA. The DNA is our prescription.

DMC: What does this mean for consumers and providers?

Snyder: Like every advancement, there will be a time in the not-so-distant future that we look back and reflect at how we threw the same drugs at everyone to see what worked. Our approach of delivering a pharmacogenomics test is safer, cheaper, and healthier than dealing with the implications of poorly controlled blood pressure.

For patients, it’s a less cumbersome experience and they get their disease under control faster with less medicine, making them more inclined to stay compliant with treatment. HBP is the number one contributor to chronic disease cost. Providers want to see it controlled – and quickly.

DMC: How has Geneticure benefitted from operating in Rochester?

Snyder: We have deep ties to Mayo Clinic, including team members that have and do work there. We’ve been part of the Mayo Clinic Business Accelerator. We also received funding in part by RAEDI [Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc.] We’re deeply entrenched in the environment here and hope to collaborate with others on future pipeline products.

DMC: A big part of the DMC plan is to help companies like yours thrive in Rochester. As an early addition to the start-up scene here, what advice do you have for other small businesses and startups interested in growing in Rochester?

Snyder: The community, given the size, is tight-knit and focused. That only serves to benefit those working in and around medicine and biotech. I’ve seen some close networks in and around the Twin Cities area but nothing like what you see here in terms of support. You can start anything in Rochester with a wave of support behind you. That’s what influenced us to spread out our business. If that network in Rochester didn’t exist, we wouldn’t have planted roots there. And it’s only just starting.

DMC: What else do you want the community to know about Geneticure?

Snyder: We’re proud of what we’re doing. We’re taking a huge swing. What we’re up to is a really lofty goal, but we’re up for the challenge and appreciate all the support from all of our partners in Rochester. We’re proud that we’re a hometown group of people and we want to be one of those big success stories down the road.