Founders’ Story: Truvian Sciences

In a Q&A, Truvian Sciences CEO Jeff Hawkins and Dena Marrinucci, founder and SVP Corporate Development and Business Operations talk about their point-of care blood testing technology.

Truvian Sciences CEO Jeff Hawkins and Founder Dena Marrinucci


In a Q&A, Truvian Sciences CEO Jeff Hawkins and Dena Marrinucci, founder and Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Business Operations, talk about the company’s point-of care blood testing technology.

Why did you start this company?

Dena: Routine blood testing today is one of the most powerful tools we have when it comes to disease prevention, but it’s also one of the most challenging things to get done. We founded the company when the unraveling of Theranos was really in its infancy. We shared Elizabeth Holmes’ vision for making blood testing more affordable and more convenient, but what we saw from the outside was that she wasn’t pushing that vision far enough. What we sought to do was develop a technology that sits where the consumer sits, so results can be delivered in real-time, without days of delay so healthcare professionals can have the conversation with the consumer about what their results mean and what the individual can do with the information to improve their overall health trajectory.

Jeff: I joined Truvian in 2018 as employee number 12 after dealing with frustration over the limited access I had to my own health data. In this day and age, almost everything is available at the touch of a button. Yet our own healthcare data remains one of the most difficult things to obtain. Fundamentally, the industry for blood testing hasn’t evolved in 20 years and that needs to change. At the highest level, what motivates me every day is Truvian’s vision to make routine health testing not only more convenient and affordable but to deliver access to data on consumers’ mobile devices. Consumers want control of their own health choices and we want to be part of that journey.

What specific need/problem are you seeking to address in healthcare?

Jeff: The idea that has always been at the center of our vision is that our healthcare industry needs to evolve, and as part of that, blood testing needs innovation. Routine testing needs to move closer to the consumer, away from the lengthy process and cost-constricting centralized lab model. Consumers need a more convenient solution for health and wellness management, that provides them with insights into their own health, at their fingertips, affordably, and rapidly. Point-of-care solutions, with retailers such as CVS and Walmart, are becoming a driving force in bringing routine healthcare to the masses and enabling easier access in a variety of ways. But testing continues to be a bottleneck. Truvian is driven to disrupt the centralized lab model, making routine health testing convenient, affordable and actionable for today’s connected consumers.

How does your point-of-care blood testing platform work?

Dena: Truvian’s automated benchtop system combines clinical chemistry, immunoassays and hematology assays in one device. The first panel will offer 40 of the most commonly ordered diagnostic tests, including a lipid panel, metabolic panel, complete blood cell count, to be completed in a single run, from just 5 drops of blood, with results in 20 minutes. Currently, such a panel needs multiple vials of blood and results can take days. And at a fraction of the cost of traditional lab tests, Truvian’s solution won’t be cost prohibitive, allowing broader access to more individuals.

With consumers demanding control of their life at their fingertips, health data shouldn’t be any different. Truvian will also provide results directly to the consumer via an easy-to-use mobile app. This will provide timely access to test results that might otherwise be challenging to get and allow for trend tracking over time.

Truvian also recently expanded its focus to address the surge in demand for antibody tests by introducing Easy Check COVID-19 IgM/IgG Test. This test will create higher standards of performance, speed, and scalability for the rapid detection of IgM/IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2.

Is this your first healthcare startup? What’s your background in healthcare?

Dena: I’m a chemist by training and did my graduate work in chemical biology at Scripps Research. I co-founded Truvian in late 2015, but it was not the first life science startup I helped create. Prior to Truvian, I co-founded Epic Sciences in 2008 and was the company’s Chief Scientific Officer. During my tenure at Epic, I developed a novel circulating tumor cell technology, and led the pharma partnering business while overseeing clinical laboratory and assay development operations. I have authored dozens of peer reviewed publications and am an inventor on 12 patents, and serve as an Advisor for Lynx Biosciences and board member of Connect.

Jeff: Truvian is not the first healthcare startup I have been a part of. For almost 20 years, I have held executive and management roles at the world’s leading healthcare companies. I joined Truvian Sciences as President and Chief Executive Officer in January 2018. But prior to Truvian, I was Vice President and General Manager of the Reproductive and Genetic Health Business at Illumina, Inc. My career spans quite a bit further than that and has always been focused on leading innovative health companies with the patient in mind. 

Who is your customer? How do you generate revenue?

Jeff: As healthcare continues moving to meet people where they are, Truvian will focus on both retailers and corporate on-site and near-site clinics to enable more convenient testing for today’s connected consumers. We also know that primary care physicians value the rapid insights our platform will deliver to help take some of the guesswork out of their initial diagnosis.

Do you have clinical validation for your product?

Dena: In the coming months Truvian’s platform will undergo clinical validation processes and be submitted for FDA clearance.

At what stage of development is your lead product?