News & Events

Vanderbilt EMBA Alumni Celebrate 10 years of Success with Healthcare Venture

Aug 18, 2023
Three Vanderbilt EMBA alumni met at Vanderbilt Business in 2010, and are now celebrating 10 years of business with their company RxGenomix

By Arial Starks

EMBA alumni Brad Tice, PharmD (EMBA’12), Brad Mitchell (EMBA’12), and Omar Hamada, MD (EMBA’12) all met in Vanderbilt’s Executive MBA program in 2010 and are now celebrating 10 years of business with their start-up company RxGenomix. RxGenomix, founded by Tice in 2013, is a healthcare company that uses pharmacogenomics to educate providers on how to tailor healthcare to their patient’s specific medical needs.

“The core of our company is testing people’s DNA to get them on the right medications that are going to work for them now and for the rest of their lives,” shared Tice. “We are excited to personalize patients’ healthcare and improve people’s lives through this initiative.”

The EMBA alumni behind RxGenomix

Pictured: Brad Tice, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of RxGenomix

Brad Tice (EMBA’12)

EMBA alumni Tice, Mitchell, and Hamada were each brought together due to their tight-knit classroom environment and similar backgrounds in pharmacy. 

“I was a Pharmacist and the Chief Clinical Officer for a startup company before going to Owen,” Tice explained. “I was always viewed as the clinician and not as having a business background or expertise. So, I went to Owen to expand my knowledge and brand beyond being labeled as just a clinician.”

Mitchell, the latest addition to the RxGenomix team, has been serving as the company’s Senior Vice President of Information Technology since 2022.

“Before going to Owen, I was working for a start-up that was acquired by Fresenius Medical Care, a big dialysis provider,” said Mitchell. “I was heading up IT for their pharmacy division, and at the time, I felt my role was stagnating, so I opened myself up to additional opportunities.” 

Mitchell says one of the most valuable resources he gained from his time at Owen was the alumni network.

“RxGenomix is really an exemplary case of the network Owen can provide,” he said. “Despite the fact that Brad and I both worked in pharmacy, which is a specific subset of the healthcare world, I don’t think our paths would have ever crossed had it not been for the EMBA program.”

The start-up of RxGenomix

Pictured: Brad Mitchell, RxGenomix, Senior Vice President of Information Technology

Brad Mitchell (EMBA’12)

The idea for RxGenomix started as a concept for a capstone project Tice was working on with his EMBA C-team during their Launching the Venture course with Michael Burcham in 2010. 

“I, along with my C-team used the course as a launching point for the business concept- to test and validate it with the class and get feedback from the reviewers for that course,” Tice said. “Michael Burcham and David Furse gave us guidance out of the gate that really helped us to get started, and it was key to the strategic direction that we took.”

Tice shares the following advice Furse and Burcham gave the group, and notes it has been one of many factors that has contributed to their success up to this point:

“One of our business concepts was that we (RxGenomix) would be a lab. A lab requires a lot of investments and capital and we didn’t want to do that out of the gate. They (Burcham and Furse) advised us not to be a lab because it would be a commodity. The market was a bit of a roller coaster when we initially got started, and there were a lot of labs that went under—so had we become a lab, we might not be around today.” 

Tice, Mitchell, and Hamada graduated from the Vanderbilt EMBA program in 2012 and RxGenomix was launched in 2013, “It was very validating to have 2 of the smartest guys in my class take interest in my idea and a desire to pursue it,” said Tice. 

The EMBA alumni continued working their day jobs as they got the business off the ground. 

“After graduation, we developed a small team of myself, Brad, Hamada, and a couple of people outside the EMBA program. We met in my basement or Omar’s house on Sunday evenings for many months and developed the concept of it (RxGenomix) to determine the right timing to put it on the market.”

Vanderbilt EMBA Alumni Celebrating 10 years of RxGenomix 

Over the last decade, RxGenomix has faced many hurdles as most start-ups do. But despite challenges, including the coronavirus pandemic, the team has remained resilient and determined to persevere. 

Heading into the COVID-19 pandemic, RxGenomix’s business approach was to serve as a benefit through employers. Once the pandemic hit, that ideology came to a halt, and like many companies, they had to rethink their services. The team decided to pivot and hone existing connections they had built with local labs, and began providing COVID-19 testing kits, among other COVID-related services. 

“To come out on the other end of that, and from a financial perspective, not just keep afloat but manage to do pretty well and use some of that revenue to fund other areas of the business, turned out to be a huge win, when it could have sunk everything,” Mitchell shared.

Tice says the ability of his team to be flexible and pivot during that time instilled a great level of confidence within the company. 

“COVID-19 definitely brought up challenges that we had to address,” Tice said. “To be able to, in many ways, think we made the right decisions while navigating those waters really builds confidence going forward, and makes us feel like we will make it another 10 years.”

“One of the things that is unique about this is it wasn’t starting up a company for a service that already existed and was well understood. This is something where the science, relatively speaking, is fairly new and the application of it is still something people are trying to understand. One of the areas where I feel Owen really helped out, was the fact that the experience taught you how to think. It has especially come in handy for something like this, where there really is no precedent and we are learning as we go.”

Other Stories

Want to learn more about Executive MBA?