Welcome to the first installment of Conversations With Carevoyance, a new series dedicated to highlighting healthcare and MedTech vendors, thought leaders, and innovators. Today, we’re thrilled to share an interview with Gavin Doree, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Exalenz Bioscience.
Founded in 2006, Exalenz is one of two commercially available 13C Urea Breath tests in the United States for the diagnosis and confirmation of eradication of Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori). Specializing in noninvasive modalities for different GI and liver function diagnostics, Exalenz Bioscience’s patented BreathID technology delivers immediate results with industry leading specificity and sensitivity.
Where Does Exalenz Fit in the Healthcare Market?
With only one other player in the commercial arena, we had to ask about Gavin about his competitor and how Exalenz is leveraging their technology to get ahead.
“Our competitor is a great company called Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, and what we really try and do is leverage our superiority in terms of technology when it comes to creating an integration decision for any of our healthcare partners,” said Gavin.
In clinical diagnostics, the most important information you can have is accuracy. There’s two parts to accuracy: sensitivity and specificity. Both are crucial in determining whether you have a true positive or true negative result when assessing a patient.
“Exalenz laboratory-based test is 100 percent sensitive and 97.9 percent specific,” said Gavin. “So, how does that help a practitioner? When you’re dealing with various pathogens, whether it be a bacterial infection, viral infection, or whatever else it may be, you’re going to encounter a list of symptoms from your patients. As a healthcare practitioner you have to eliminate certain things it could be in order to ensure you’re treating the right thing.”
That’s where Exalenz comes in. Their simple 15-minute test definitively tells practitioners whether or not their patient has an H. pylori infection. From there, a practitioner is able to appropriately diagnose and treat a patient for infection, or, if the test comes back negative, they are able to quickly turn their focus to other tests.
When you look at the healthcare spectrum, from patient all the way out to payer, everyone’s trying to find a way to reduce the overall cost that’s associated with healthcare. There are hundreds of variables that go into that decision-making process, one of which is antibiotic or antimicrobial stewardship.
Gavin went on to stress how important it is to ensure practitioners are prescribing the appropriate medications to the appropriate patients for the symptoms they’re experiencing. This helps to minimize the higher costs that are associated with hospitalization, long-term care, and treatments of that nature.
Exalenz aims to help practitioners and patients figure out what’s wrong as early as possible so they can seek remedies that restore the patient’s quality of life, while also helping the healthcare system drive down the overall cost of treatment.
Where Did Exalenz Come From?
Like most companies, Exalenz was founded to address a need in the market. Exalenz was spun-off from Oridion Medical. Oridion is a global medical device company specializing in patient safety monitoring in clinical environments. Oridion Medical is based in Israel, where the prevalence of H. pylori is significant. Gavin estimates the prevalence of the bacteria is 50 to 65 percent in the general Israeli population, with similar numbers across the Middle East and as high as 75 percent in China.
“The genesis of the creation of Exalenz was to fill the need for non-invasive H. pylori testing in Israel,” said Gavin. “From there, we began to expand to other markets. Nowadays we have a presence in the United States, Central and South America, Russia, Asia, and we just received our Chinese FDA clearance, so we’re opening up that market.”
What’s Your Proudest Moment at Exalenz?
When we asked this question, Gavin hesitated and we laughed. There were plenty of proud moments for him to choose from, and we were asking for just one of them. After some thought, he had this to say:
I would say our proudest moment at Exalenz was acquiring our contract with LabCorp, the second-largest reference lab in the United States … What we’re able to do is help hundreds of thousands of patients on an annual basis that are seeking answers and relief for the symptoms they’re experiencing that are associated with the bacterial infection we hunt.
The collaboration between LabCorp and Exalenz began in 2014, and the first test was performed in 2017. It was a long-haul deal for Exalenz, but Gavin said he and his team were committed.
“With medical device technology and clinical diagnostics, you have to think about what’s the ‘right’ solution for us as a manufacturer and what’s the ‘best’ solution for the customer,” said Gavin. “For us, it’s a process of evolution. We came into the United States market with a point of care technology, we evolved into the much more robust laboratory system, and we’re in the process of ongoing evolution for H. pylori testing and different liver function diagnosis … It’s all a process. If you’re not committed to it, this is definitely not the place you want to be.”
What Advice Do You Have for Those Trying to Succeed in the Healthcare Market?
According to Gavin, dedication and evolution are key to succeeding in the healthcare market. Transparency also plays a major role, both for Gavin and Exalenz.
“The lesson I learned a long time ago is you have to keep the patient in front of everything you do,” said Gavin. “What we try to do every day here at Exalenz is put the patient first, foremost, and always … Once you keep the patient front and center of what you’re doing, everything else becomes easy.”
In healthcare, there are choices, and having the best information available is key to any decision-making process. Exalenz views the facilitation of accurate information as a duty and responsibility of manufacturers in the healthcare ecosystem.
If we’re helping people with the best information to make the right decision, then, at the end of the day, we can all say we’re doing the right thing for healthcare.
How Do You Find New Healthcare Clients?
The healthcare data Carevoyance provides is key for Gavin and his reps all across the United States. Specifically, he’s got his eye on CPT codes.
“Our partnership and interaction with Carevoyance has been absolutely great,” said Gavin. “There are specific CPT codes that we can drill into to identify the value of certain opportunities, and that’s where we hunt.”
When Gavin has a specific CPT code he’s trying to sell into, he uses Carevoyance to locate providers running those tests and determine if they’re a viable prospect.
For fun, we asked Gavin what his company’s favorite CPT code is. He laughed before telling us CPT 86677, Under Qualitative or Semiquantitative Immunoassays. It’s a blood-based test for H. pylori diagnosis.
“It is not a good test,” said Gavin. “People know it’s not a good test. The people who offer the test know it’s not a good test.”
That’s where Exalenz comes in. Gavin and his team use this as an opportunity to inform the doctors and hospitals who report CPT 86677 about 13C Urea Breath testing. To reduce the barrier of entry and increase adoption, over the last four years, Exalenz has worked to make their solution much more cost-competitive so that it’s worthwhile for labs using outdated modalities.
If you’re a sales rep for Exalenz, on Day Three of your onboarding, you’re going to learn how to “hunt” for prospects with Carevoyance. We asked Gavin for a hypothetical.
A rep goes into Carevoyance. They drill into CPT code 86677, and they find labs in their geographies that are running those tests. From there, they’ll cross-reference that information through a Google search and partner that up with a LinkedIn search to find specific people with specific roles. Then the hunt is on and we turn them loose.
One of the reasons Exalenz double-checks their data is because the payers — companies such as BlueCross, Humana, and Aetna — do not support CPT code 86677. In fact, payers’ medical policy language says their customers should not use it. However, since there are so many hundreds of thousands of these tests performed on an annual basis, the payers haven’t denied the vast majority of those claims. Yet.
“What labs are starting to do is walk away from that test and either adopt us or reference it out, meaning they’ll send the test to somebody else,” said Gavin. “We cross-reference our data because we don’t want to walk into a lab and say ‘hey, based on the data we have, you’re doing a bunch of these tests’ when they’re not.”
What’s the Value of Carevoyance to Exalenz?
Because no interview would be complete without an Oz reference, Gavin said:
Carevoyance allows us to peek behind the curtain a little bit and see what the business approach is of the prospects we’re pursuing and how good they are at what they do.
When it comes to sales, Exalenz doesn’t want to go with the “carpet bombing” approach. Gavin and his team prefer to take a much more “rifled” approach, which requires reps have all the information they need in-hand before they send that first cold email or pickup the phone to ring their prospects.
“Carevoyance gives us that,” said Gavin. “You’re able to take a snapshot of a business and pin it down pretty quick.”
About the Author
Carevoyance contributor Amanda Cyr is a professional writer and content strategist who was screaming "CONTENT IS KING" before it was cool. She enjoys nerding out about healthcare marketing, and she'd appreciate a follow on LinkedIn.