Dave Jacob

Co-founder & CEO, ThinkGenetic

Dave Jacob is Co-Founder and CEO of ThinkGenetic, a health information company based in Massachusetts. ThinkGenetic.com, which answers everyday questions about living with genetic conditions and helps shorten the time to diagnose these very rare conditions, was founded, in part, because Dave was born with a rare, connective tissue genetic condition, Cutis Laxa. Despite living with this condition, he has been a successful businessman, entrepreneur, Navy pilot and professional bowler over his varied career. Jacob spent 18 years at EDS, a worldwide systems integration public company before becoming CEO of Data Solutions Corporation, a subsidiary of Data General. Jacob subsequently established technology companies JSI and Davalen before founding ThinkGenetic in 2016.

TRNDS Speaker Spotlight

Why are you participating in TRNDS 2017?
I am specifically interested in the patient discovery process for genetic conditions. My sister and I went undiagnosed for 60 years and both had open-heart surgery as children. Our condition [was finally] diagnosed through testing as a rare, connective tissue disorder – Cutis Laxa.

What do you see as the biggest opportunities to accelerate rare disease therapeutic development?
Most of the [broad efforts towards] patient identification focus on educating physicians and caregivers and on television/radio advertising. Not very effective when you are looking for 1 in 100,000 or fewer affected people. My vision is that patients [are aware that] something has not been discovered with their condition and they are searching for answers (usually on-line). If we provide the tools and accurate answers, patients will discover a likely cause and find the appropriate medical resources.

Tell us a bit about how ThinkGenetic sets itself apart from other web-based medical information resources.
ThinkGenetic focuses on the patient by providing a discovery roadmap for genetic conditions by asking and answering questions much as a genetic counselor would. Additionally, the ThinkGenetic SymptomMatcher uses plain English descriptions of symptoms and lets user choose options rather than type medical terminology. This 3 1/2 minute video gives an overview of ThinkGenetic: