DNA Software Team Interviews


Well, we began the company as a software consulting agency, where we would work with customers to understand their problems and we would make customized solutions for them. But then really, right around when I came in as CEO around 2010, there was a opportunity to move our software to the Cloud Computing, and take advantage of high performance computing. This offered up a whole new business model for us, wherein we could address larger databases. We could address larger problems that customers had, fold longer sequences, and do more challenging primer design. In addition, we’ve incorporated the scientific aspects of just a much more rigorous approach to doing primer design. So we have a wet lab that has been doing continuous discovery of the mechanisms of PCR design. Incorporating those into the software has led to sort of three-pronged approach of better science, higher scalability, and dealing with the hardest problems in the field. There has been a continuing trend in the industry toward combining assays and trying to get as many assays to work in a single detection, well at one time. That of course, presents real challenges for design, because once you have multiple targets in the same well, then those primers can interact in non-intuitive ways. We are working to make it so that the software takes into account all of the system-like effects of cross interactions between primer dimers, primer amplicon cross reactions, and primer interactions with the background DNA that’s present in the sample. I would say that the biggest breakthrough we’ve made is in understanding the mechanisms of failures of PCR. In particular, the mechanisms of forming primer dimers and primer cross reactive interactions. And we have really taken a systematic approach to discover the scientific mechanisms behind the failures of PCR. So one of the great things about dnasoftware is that we do have a in-house lab where we do, do testing and validation. Our customers, whether they’re government, scientific, academicians, various people will report back to us on occasion about their failures and their designs. And of course we always want to be better. So when a customer does report those kind of issues, we’ll go ahead and replicate the exact designs and conditions of their experiments. And if we can replicate those failures in our lab, we take that data and we put it into a database, and then the leaders of the company and the computer programmers use that data to make the prediction algorithms much better. So in the past year or so, we’ve been working more on improving our search engine optimization SEO for our website. And recently, we’ve been also doing some biweekly podcast. Also, we’ve been doing a lot of email campaigns, specifically targeted to research groups. So we’ve focused our message around telling our customers how to save money, time, and resources, and the industry took notice of that. Some of the things that I think would really value the company at this point, is making a transition to a structure that can capitalize on the quality of the product. When it comes to the people, I want to help to organize things with the team, so they can focus and really give everybody the best possibility, and enable them to do their best work. I think there’s a level of self awareness that happens within a R&D organization, when they’ve tried to design challenging multi-plexes, and there’s a systematic failures or suboptimal designs that lead them to realizing they don’t have to go it alone. There’s expert help out there. They don’t need to rely on suboptimal tools that are often free. And those free tools end up costing a lot of time and money, opportunity costs, bringing products to market. Customers really value our expertise and our ability to use our own software in collaboration with them to design large multi-plex panels. So having been awarded Best In Class for Multi-Plex Design, the molecular diagnostic space has really taken notice of our expertise, quite frankly, and now has brought us in as a partner to design these multi-plex projects with them, as opposed to just licensing software.