Before the COVID-19 outbreak, Brett Maloley ’02 had spent his career developing and launching health and fitness startups. In addition, Brett is an investor in a diagnostic and outpatient testing business, BRIO. BRIO is now one of the many companies that have refocused their efforts on creating and managing COVID-19 solutions. Now acting as BRIO’s Chief Strategy Officer, Brett has found himself on the front lines of the pandemic. Read Brett’s firsthand account below…
Having stepped down from the day to day of the company that I founded 5 years ago, in December, to start a new company, my wife and I were in the process of relocating back to Boston from Austin, TX, and awaiting the construction of our new offices to be completed. I was working out of the BRIO headquarters (inside of the Techstars incubator) a couple of days per week. Suddenly, the world changed, and coronavirus became a reality. Fast forward a few days — I had been inserted into the BRIO team to lead strategy and distribution. When BRIO’s Founder and CEO asked me to step in, I was immediately happy to help.
Founded by Boris Lipchin, the former lead avionics and controls engineer at SpaceX, BRIO had previously been an outpatient testing solution, providing individuals with the ability to recognize certain biomarkers, etc. in an effort to maximize their ability to understand how their fitness, diet, and lifestyle efforts affect their unique biochemistry. Given their unique experience in rapidly scaling outpatient testing, combined with their network of CLIA certified labs, they were positioned perfectly to pivot and meet the needs of the current demands of the coronavirus pandemic.
When I joined the BRIO team, we were definitely more of a concept than anything else and essentially everything needed to be created. Boris’ vision was very simple. There will be a massive need for a true system that makes it incredibly simple for public and private entities to rapidly scale outpatient COVID-19 testing. It was time to get to work!
Not being a lab, but rather the system that sits atop a number of the nation’s most respected commercial labs, we had to build out the entire value chain, full-stack, and full-stop: administration supervision, laboratory requisition, results articulation, shipping and logistics and we needed to build a tech flow that would make it super easy for patients to see where they are, establishing mutual expectations throughout the entire process.
After 3 weeks of 20 hour days, 7 days a week, we had the system built. A full-stack testing solution enabling our partners to proactively deliver both serological lab-backed analysis as well as active infection RT-PCR testing, fully supported by the state, Fed, FDA, etc. We had put all the pieces together, all logistics, testing, EMT and phlebotomist supervision, lab requisitions, medical supervision — everything, soup to nuts.
After building the system, the past couple of weeks have been spent working with partners across the country, first responders, states and more recently private companies. It’s been a wild ride so far and I’m sure it will continue to be. The work has been simultaneously the most challenging and rewarding of my professional career. We’re learning a lot every day and while this unfortunate landscape is not ideal for any of us, I’m lucky to have had the chance to be in a position to help people during this time of need.