Olivier Noel, DNAsimple
founder and CEO
It's no secret that the research world is perpetually on the hunt for study candidates. And when the study involves genetic research, well, the pool of potential participants shrinks further still.
That's why DNAsimple, a startup led by 20-something wunderkind Noel, has become a near-instant sensation in the few years since its launch. Billed as “the matchmaker of the genetic research world,” DNAsimple is, well, simple: Would-be study participants provide some basic demographic information and fill out a short medical history. If they're a fit for a potential study, they're notified and given a chance to review it. Should they decide to participate, they do so via home saliva kit – and are compensated for it.
Noel and his team believe that the, well, simplicity of the DNAsimple process will greatly accelerate the pace of genetic research. “Diseases affect people worldwide, but researchers and their labs are in one place and often only have access to samples coming from a limited region,” Noel said around the time of the company's formal launch. “DNAsimple will help break that geographic barrier and reduce some of the costs associated with gathering samples.” Meanwhile, even as DNAsimple grows in size and prominence, you can still find Noel in a research setting: He's currently working to identify the genetics behind the positive health effects in the wake of bariatric surgery.