Diassess: Next Generation DNA Testing

The 2017 BIE cohort with Diassess team members.

On June 12, the BIE team visited Diassess in Emeryville, CA. Diassess was founded in 2013 with the goal of providing affordable yet highly accurate molecular based DNA testing for infectious diseases, and they continue to develop and improve upon their product.

We started our visit by meeting members of the Diassess team from the focus areas of the company: engineering, assay development, and clinical and regulatory affairs. They each presented an overview of their field and described some of the unique challenges faced with developing a personal disease assay. They each presented flow charts denoting the paths taken to produce a fully functional product and get it through clinical trials, emphasizing the highly iterative nature of development and the steps necessary to ensure that all the design requirements are met.

Frankie from the engineering team leading us on a tour of the facilities.

Afterwards, we were led on a tour of the facilities and got to see all the key components of the design and prototyping process. They took us on a step-by-step guide, showing us how the different parts of the device are assembled as well as where they perform the testing and quality control. The tour focused on the importance of revisiting each step of the production process for optimization and quality control, allowing the company to constantly hone their protocol and ensure their product is constantly improving and developing.

Overall, this visit was an incredible opportunity for an inside view of a biotech startup in the Bay Area. We learned a lot about how they implement the design process into all of their work, and how iteration and a critical lens on every step of the way are integral to a successful design and company.

Diassess co-founder & CEO John Waldeisen speaking to BIE members.