CORE Diagnostics: revolutionizing the healthcare services through technology
The inception of CORE was based on a simple observation: while the “delivery system” of healthcare services had caught up with the western standards, clinical diagnostics had lagged behind the developed markets by almost a decade. There were just a handful of large players and small local labs. Neither of them had either the skills or the incentives to move away from “routine diagnostics.” We saw a ‘white space’: high-end diagnostics. We created CORE to bridge this gap by making advanced diagnostic procedures accessible in India.
Our Editorial team spoke to Zoya, Founder of CORE Diagnostics. Here are the edited excerpts.
- How has the organization maintained its momentum?
We are the fastest growing pathology service provider in India that has impacted the lives of 200,000 patients so far. We continue to grow with our strong team of A-grade employees to build a foundation – not only of a company, but also of an entirely new industry within healthcare. More importantly, we have built a one-of-a-kind work-culture in India: transparent, non-hierarchical, and dialog-driven.
In order to accelerate the growth and expansion, CORE is constantly investing its efforts on scientific breakthroughs in three areas of mass importance – genomics, informatics, and massive reductions in the cost of testing. For a market like India, research and innovation in all three areas are critical and we already have an active world-class R&D group based in the US and India. CORE is frequently innovating in their areas of specialty of high-end molecular and genomic diagnostics in critical diseases in order to reduce the cost of testing.
- Kindly brief us about the technology deployed by CORE Diagnostics in the industry?
We believe that no healthcare player can operate in isolation, as it requires extensive collaboration with academia, big pharma and other innovators in diagnostics, both locally and globally.
Recently, we collaborated with US-based Promega Biotech to implement the innovative Microsatellite Instability (MSI) technology for the detection DNA mismatch-repair deficiency that further helps in making treatment decisions. Another recent addition to our portfolio was the CORE prime technology that can screen for 51 instead of 29 mutations as compared with the traditional method of PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) while giving more holistic view of the disease pattern.
- What are the values and factors that you attribute your success to?
Great companies are never rate-limited by vision and strategy. Rather, what makes them great is relentless execution – without deviating from vision and strategy.
CORE’s principles can be best described as follows:
CORE Belief-Veritable: Unique diagnostics with dual review on every test
CORE Value-Reliable: Definitive diagnosis within the shortest turn-around time
CORE Impact-Actionable: Precise disease stratification and therapy selection
Underneath these principles is the overarching guiding principle: Innovation.
- What makes you stand apart?
We stand out in many ways. It is worth noting that we have created a panel of world-class experts from the US and other countries that include some of the top names in Academic Medicine. This inspires confidence. Second, our no-nonsense approach to admitting when we make a mistake, as rare as it is, inspires trust.
- How do you work on your long-term relationship with your clients?
Long-term business relationships require two things: commitment and hard work to build trust-worthy relationships. For continued medical education and customer engagement, CORE has the most extensive schedule of workshops across the country to make patients/healthcare practitioners aware of the newest tech/diagnostics tests available in preventative medicine. CORE also firmly believes in the power of data and science, therefore, it publishes about innovative research extensively and hosts cancer awareness talks in corporate offices and colleges as a part of their community initiative called CORE social. We also recently started an initiative to help clinicians learn of the latest scientific advancements called COREssence.
- What challenges do you see in the market?
Diagnostics sector is highly un-organized, fragmented, and comprised of labs that are focusing on routine or generic tests. Therefore, we continuously focus on building the right kind of talent and training them to stay perpetually current in their knowledge.
Awareness amongst the clinicians, especially outside the big metros – regarding the importance of diagnostic, prognostics, and predictive tests is limited. Regulatory headwinds will remain a challenge for healthcare for next several years.
- Brief us about the milestones earned by the organization.
Today, CORE is the de facto destination for innovative, high-end diagnostics and trusted by thousands of clinicians across India. In just a short span of time, CORE has established its brand as the clear innovation leader as the fastest growing lab, with a current 6% MoM growth and richest test menu in oncology, infectious disease, and gynecology. It has the broadest geographical coverage – with sales and service presence in 120 cities in India and 12 international markets – all served out of our NABL accredited central laboratory in the NCR.
- How has been your journey as a leader?
My journey as a leader most importantly has been one of inner growth and learning. Being a leader is being part pilot, part inflight psychologist. I knew that the quality of the physical workspace will play a very critical role and we are joined by world-class people who share the same vision and entrepreneurial spirit as I do. To make that happen has been the most challenging and the most exciting part of my journey.
- The road ahead
We are rigorously working to re-shape the diagnostic industry that it becomes the central function of healthcare delivery. Alongside, we are expanding our geographical territories through various partnerships with government, pharma, and health tech companies to making preventative tests available and accessible to consumers directly at home. CORE is also venturing into new clinical areas at regular intervals enabled by latest, cutting-edge technologies in whole-genome sequencing, proteomics, and more recently, metabolomics. We want CORE to remain THE partner-of-choice for any pharma company in conducting clinical trials.
- A piece of advice for the young entrepreneurs…
I would say to young entrepreneurs to dream big but DO sweat the small stuff. Devil lies in details. So does God!
Zoya Brar, Founder and Managing Director
Zoya got a bachelor’s degree in Sociology at Lady Sriram College. She then worked at Google for 2 years before founding CORE, when she was 23. She raised INR 25 Crore in initial funding from the Silicon Valley-based Artiman Ventures, and in a little over 3 years, has established CORE to be synonymous with innovation in Clinical Diagnostics. Meanwhile, the business had grown nearly 10% every month under her leadership. She is a frequent speaker on prestigious platforms like Medtech Women conference in California, and VCCircle at Bangalore. She also featured on different television shows such as Awaaz Entrepreneur on CNBC and The Big Idea on Zee News.
Arghya Basu, Co-Founder
Arghya a computer engineer from JNTU, management post-graduate from T.A. Pai Management Institute, an avid fan of soccer, adventure sports, and trekking. Prior to entering the startup space, Arghya worked at Google in various roles like Indian business strategy formulation & implementation and customer services. Before Google, he worked with Sify, an IT & Telecom company, to develop their customer delivery model. He also has considerable experience in the FMCG sector. He has worked with the Not-for-Profit sector through his time with the Akanksha Foundation where he contributed both in management as well as on the ground volunteering for the education of underprivileged children.