When you go to the hospital and provide a blood sample, that sample is sent to a lab for analysis. What happens to that specimen after the lab has collected its data?
Hospitals and labs typically destroy these specimens, although some are seeing the benefit of biobanking and selling these specimens off to facilities where patient samples are stored. With iSpecimen, medical organizations can extrapolate the data found in these blood samples and gain access to large data sets through the iSpecimen interface.
iSpecimen itself does not hold patient samples within any of its facilities; iSpecimen simply houses the data extracted from these samples. This method of dealing with medical data gives researchers a leg up when they require access to large amount of samples within a short period of time.
ISpecimen’s business model is pretty simple. First, they work with hospitals to source biological samples. Once sourced, iSpecimen asks the hospital or lab to send the sample directly to researchers. Since iSpecimen does not hold specimens on their premises, iSpecimen can provide data on over 10 million samples to researchers through a cloud interface.
In order to protect patient privacy, iSpecimen has implemented what it calls “Robust de-identification technology.” This allows iSpecimen to work with medical data while remaining compliant within the stringent rules dictated by HIPAA.
“There’s a huge demand for specimens, and that demand is being driven by agendas in precision medicine,” says iSpecimen CEO Christopher Ionelli in an interview on MedCityNews.
“This is a good revenue opportunity for hospitals and labs, too,” Ianelli added. “They can generate high margin revenue off of yesterday’s garbage.”
Ianelli got the idea of starting up iSpecimen while working as pathologist. So far, iSpecimen has participated in two rounds of funding. In the first round, iSpecimen received $2m while in the second round, the startup procured $8m. Ianelli mentions that iSpecimen will not be seeking any additional funding as the company has grown large enough to continue expanding using its existing revenue streams.