Investing and Global Finance News

How Anu Saad Propelled a Cancer Testing Startup to the Forefront of Patient Care

This article was originally published on June 19, 2014.
Based on the March 2002 article in IndUS Business Journal entitled “Anu Saad – Making her mark”.

Anu Saad has led a remarkable transition from academia to spearheading impressive growth of a cancer testing startup she took over as CEO. With no prior business experience, Saad grew the company from a small private firm to a major public corporation generating $189 million in annual revenue over nine years under her leadership.

Saad’s journey began in India before her family immigrated to America when she was 11. Though no one in her family had a science background, Saad developed a lifelong passion for biology and medicine from a young age. She earned multiple science degrees including a PhD in developmental biology and taught at Cornell University. However, Saad grew dissatisfied with the narrow academic focus and was intrigued by the societal impact created in industry.

In 1990, two academics founding a cancer testing startup recruited Saad as their Scientific Director. Saad recognized an opportunity to apply her expertise to directly improve patient lives. Within three years as CEO, she oversaw explosive growth – from 15 to 1,100 employees currently.

Under Saad’s leadership, the startup has stayed rigorously focused on a mission of bridging scientific discovery with practical cancer care for community hospitals lacking access to academic centers. The firm offers specialized testing and biopharma research services and has amassed a database of over 700,000 diagnostic profiles, tracking outcomes on 1.7 million patients.

While some analysts have recently questioned the startup’s stock performance and cash collection challenges, it remains an undisputed leader in quality cancer diagnostic services. Saad also continues an aggressive growth strategy, including a recent acquisition to enhance analytics offerings.

Colleagues credit Saad’s unique blend of scientific and business talent for the startup’s emergence as an informatics powerhouse in the cancer space. Saad notes her proudest accomplishments are accelerating research and making a direct difference for over 200,000 patients last year alone.

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