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Do you know how to dance with angels?

This is the fifth article in a continuing monthly series chronicling the growth path of Genevolve Vision Diagnostics, a life sciences startup based in Albuquerque, NM that is commercializing cutting edge genetic research to develop new diagnostic tests and gene therapies for colour blindness.

By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

It’s been a busy couple of months for Matt Lemelin, CEO of Genevolve Vision Diagnostics, as he hustles across the U.S. to raise Genevolve’s profile and, ideally, its bank account.

A year ago he made the mistake of letting his fundraising efforts lose steam after he secured a short-term investor. But those funds quickly ran out and he found himself scrambling without any fresh prospects in the pipeline. In our last post, we also talked about how Genevolve’s plans for a big launch at the annual meeting of the American Academy for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus in March had been derailed by delays in the lab.

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Looking for that sweet spot to get market traction

This is the fourth article in a continuing monthly series chronicling the growth path of Genevolve Vision Diagnostics, a life sciences startup based in Albuquerque, NM that is commercializing cutting edge genetic research to develop new diagnostic tests and gene therapies for colour blindness.

By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

Sometimes, you need to take a step back to get two steps ahead.

In the almost two months since we last touched base with Matt Lemelin, CEO of Genevolve Vision Diagnostics, this has certainly proven to be the case.

Genevolve was planning to make a big splash at the annual meeting of the American Academy for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus this month. An impressive showing here could spark the endorsement and early adoption from the broader medical community Genevolve needs to kick start the process for qualifying its Eyedox Genetic Test for Color Vision for insurance reimbursement. However, Lemelin decided to pull out of the show and refocus on the largest industry show of the year – the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology taking place in Chicago in November.

“The stars are not aligning as planned for our launch,” he said. “We have had delays on the science side. A major challenge lies in, for a lack of a better word ‘transferring’ the test collateral from the research side to a commercial entity so that it works flawlessly. This has turned out to be quite a challenge. It is imperative to release a perfect product to preserve our reputation.”

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Dealing with the devilish details

This is the third article in a continuing monthly series chronicling the growth path of Genevolve Vision Diagnostics, a life sciences startup based in Albuquerque, NM that is commercializing cutting edge genetic research to develop new diagnostic tests and gene therapies for colour blindness.

By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

According to Matt Lemelin, CEO of Genevolve Vision Diagnostics, there are more than 100 occupations which rely on workers having normal colour vision. As we explored in our last post, civilian and military aviation, where there is no room for error, ranks high on this list. Job performance and passenger safety depends on pilots, air traffic controllers and many other technical and support personnel having full colour vision.

It’s easy to understand, then, why Lemelin is filled with such enthusiasm for Genevolve’s prospects when he hears the United States Air Force state that “no colour vision test currently on the market delivers what the Air Force requires.”

“We are very excited about the possibilities of working with the Air Force and other governmental departments,” he said. “We have a fairly complete understanding of their needs in regards to colour vision and we feel we have a turnkey solution to resolve their longstanding issues.”

The challenge, of course, is to bring to market a compelling product that is protected by a rigorous intellectual property (IP) strategy and has garnered the regulatory approvals and industry praise to attract the interest of such a flagship customer. In this post, we will take a look at Genevolve’s product development, IP strategy, business plan and how venture capital does, or does not, fit into the picture.

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Giving a fair shake to the eyes in the sky

This is the second article in a continuing monthly series chronicling the growth path of Genevolve Vision Diagnostics, a life sciences startup based in Albuquerque, NM that is commercializing cutting edge genetic research to develop new diagnostic tests and gene therapies for colour blindness.

By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

In July 2002, a FedEx Boeing 727 carrying cargo crashed on its approach for a night-time landing in Tallahassee, Fl. A U.S. National Transportation Safety Board investigation identified the first officer’s colour vision deficiency as a factor in the crash and recommended that all existing colour vision testing protocols employed by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) be reviewed. Four years later, this case, and the issues which it raised about colour blindness testing in the commercial aviation industry, was the subject of a panel at an international workshop hosted by Saudi Arabian Airlines.

For Matt Lemelin, CEO of Genevolve Vision Diagnostics, stories such as this validate his company’s mandate, and commercial potential, to redefine how colour blindness is tested, diagnosed and treated. As Genevolve moves closer to its commercial launch, he is eagerly looking at specific industries such as aviation, where there is an opportunity for the company to establish new testing standards that are more fair and equitable. Genevolve’s ultimate goal is to create a global colour vision standard for all occupations.

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Meet Genevolve Vision Diagnostics

This is the first article in a continuing monthly series that will chronicle the growth path of Genevolve Vision Diagnostics, a life sciences startup based in Albuquerque, NM that is commercializing cutting edge genetic research to develop new diagnostic tests and gene therapies for colour blindness.

By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

When a startup’s underlying intellectual property has already been hailed by Time Magazine as one of the year’s top 10 scientific discoveries, it may foster the perception that the road to commercial success is already assured. But president and CEO Matt Lemelin and the team at Genevolve Vision Diagnostics have learned that a great discovery is only the beginning of a long and challenging journey.

“We are creating a new market with an advanced technology that many said was not possible,” Lemelin said. “We’ve been labeled as pioneers, a term that concerns me ever since I heard a seasoned veteran state ‘pioneers get slaughtered, settlers prosper.’”

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Recent Comments

  • James LaPalme : Francis Would not say thrived - but close - in spite of geography. 15ish years ago - a group of similar skilled and experience and capable business folks (sales, channel, alliance, business development) all lived in Canada (Ottawa-Toronto-Waterloo). All except for one stayed - that would be me. Well the guys that went to Silicon Valley have thrived well beyond expectations. The others - Boston, Dallas and EU have done very well - thrived. My survival has been predominately based on CEO's from outside Ontario seeing my value. Best to move on to more receptive fertile ground if ambitious. A successful strategy is to move south do a few years and remove the pure northern business experience then come back - which my experience is very few will.

  • Francis Moran : I'm so glad to see you warming to this idea, Luc. Not that you were ever one of those mindless critics who automatically opposed the proposal; you were properly skeptical and demanding that it contain more of what folks like you and I believed was necessary for success. Looks like the city is listening.

  • Luc Lalande : Hi Francis, thank you for the steady and keen eye on the development of this important project for the City. I share your view that open spaces in the building’s design will be critical components for encouraging spontaneous interactions between people. Integrating such spaces in the Innovation Complex sends the right signals to the community-at-large and not just the local startup ecosystem: everyone is welcomed! With respect to Patti’s comments about the arts sector, it would be worth bringing back to light that the Hintonburg-Mechanicsville area has emerged as the first Arts District in the City of Ottawa, housing many artist studios, performing arts studios, and media groups. While the 7 Bayview located Innovation Complex may cater to the entrepreneurial set, there is still considerable property on these lands that could, one day, be developed and capitalize on the area’s sizable artistic community. But perhaps the open spaces at the Innovation Complex can be equally accommodating for anyone who embraces creativity and entrepreneurship: artists and innovators alike.

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