This day is remembered for the of entirety of the ‘Human Genome Project’ (HGP) – an worldwide effort to collection the three Bn DNA letters inside the human genome – which opened the doorways to severa opportunities inside the space of healthcare, agriculture, animal sciences, environmental protection, bio-fuel, and so forth.
For those who are unexpected with the time period, a genome is an organism’s whole set of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), a chemical compound that incorporates the genetic instructions needed to broaden and direct the activities of every organism.
In easy phrases, it is the language of existence for all residing beings.
Sam Santhosh, an IIM Kolkata alumni after which proprietor of IT firm Calasoft (bought in 2009), found this as an possibility to step into the journey of genome sequencing and statistics evaluation. After spending some years accumulating expertise on the situation, Sam installed SciGenom Inc., in 2010, in Kochi, Kerala.
SciGenom became installation to provide genomics offerings and services across various sectors which includes human, agriculture, microbial, and animals. With growing demand in genomic services for human samples, SciGenome spun off its human genomics division MedGenome into an unbiased entity in 2013.
As Sam recalls,
“When we began with SciGenome, it turned into the time whilst DNA sequencing technology was growing in leaps and limits, lowering sequencing charges while increasing processing pace. For example, sequencing the first human genome took 10 years and value approximately $3 Bn, at the same time as now we're at a degree speaking about a $1,000 genome sequencing in less than weeks.”
Now, after 3 years of inception, the business enterprise is understood for providing genomic solutions in most cancers immunotherapy. Its unique access to genomics records with scientific and phenotypic (the physical and mental traits of an organism from both genetics and surroundings) information provides insights into complex illnesses on the genetic and molecular level, to facilitate research in customized healthcare.
Based out of Bengaluru, the business enterprise has, to this point, raised $24 Mn funding, and is sponsored by using investors along with Emerge Ventures and Sequoia India.
MedGenome changed into to start with incubated because the human genomics division of SciGenome in Kerala itself. The purpose changed into to help clinicians globally adopt precision medication of their exercise whilst diagnosing diabetes, most cancers, and cardiovascular sicknesses. Another goal changed into to assist researchers in persevering with their experiments and studies on human genome sequencing.
In 2013, MedGenome restructured and its headquarters were shifted to Bengaluru to installation an NGS (Next Generation Sequencing) lab – which claimed to be India’s most effective lab to possess NGS era machines, consisting of Illumina’s Hiseq X 10, 4000, and 2500.
IIlumina is an American agency which presents superior era merchandise/machines to assist decode human genomes. For example, a blood pattern amassed from a affected person having most cancers is processed through these machines to get deeper insights on his curable kingdom and suggestive medicine.
Since then, the MedGenome labs have been installation in other South Asian markets and recently in Chennai too. In addition, a CLIA/CAP licensed lab was additionally set up in California. The enterprise also claims to be the handiest genomics firm to conduct a very correct non-invasive prenatal check facility in India to expect the hazard of chromosomal problems in foetuses.
Currently operating with over 320 employees, the business enterprise gives 300 genetic tests throughout oncology, cardiology, ophthalmology, neurology, and nephrology. It works with over 10 studies collaborators throughout the united states and has a network of over four,00 hospitals for diagnostics. For instance, MedGenome is operating with theTata Memorial for Cancer, Mohan’s Diabetic Centre for Diabetes, and so forth.
It has also earned the difference of being the NGS lab with the very best throughput – the number of sequencing carried out in a time frame – in Southeast Asia. Furthermore, it's also a founding accomplice for the GenomeAsia 100K consortium, with an objective of sequencing one hundred,000 genomes from the vicinity to pick out genetic insights that allow drug discovery and exploratory research.
A Platform Offering Solutions For Clinicians And Researchers
MedGenomics presently gives solutions for 2 key segments.
First is medical diagnostics, wherein it allows docs to perform genetic checking out for uncommon or particular sicknesses. Also, it offers a non-invasive prenatal check, Panorama, for detecting genetic problems, and a possibility to get them handled in the mom’s womb.
As explained via Sam, “A medical doctor can only treat a affected person well, if he will be capable of diagnose what ails the patient nicely. In case of precise or uncommon sicknesses, MedGenome indicates doctors the quality feasible manner in which assessments can be applicable. For instance, if you have a particular aerobic problem, we can have a listing of 15 or 20 genes that are applicable to that aerobic trouble and will offer that as a separate test. We have many panels in neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, and diabetes which help docs with their paintings.”
The genetic checking out is recommended if a health practitioner or patient feels the need for it, on the basis of loads of factors like circle of relatives records, consanguineous marriages (marriage inside own family), start defects, genetic issues, chromosomal abnormality and so forth.
MedGenome has appointed numerous scientific executives, in easy phrases, sales employees, who remain linked with medical doctors at diverse hospitals. As the want for a check arises, a medical doctor or clinician can connect with them or the employer’s customer support to get assistance. Also, it is easy to order for the take a look at online, however considering the risks, time and money involved inside the system, it requires a prescription to be handed over offline handiest. So, it seems, that maximum of the time doctors connect with the executive in man or woman.
Another section that MedGenome caters to is studies, in which it gives international researchers a platform to help decode variations within the genetic makeup of organisms in a distinctive manner. The platform is MedGenome’s Next Generation Sequencing Labs in Bengaluru and California owning Illumina’s human genome decoding machines inclusive of Miseq, Hiseq 4000 / 2500 and X10.
As Sam stated, “Clinical diagnostics is just one a part of the enterprise. The project is to deep dive into India’s genetic history of the closing 5,000 years with worldwide research teams and get insights on different sorts of sicknesses. With India being a number to numerous cultural practices, it becomes a great deal easier to recognize problems.”
“Creating Awareness Was The Biggest Challenge”
In the initial days, Sam believed that the largest undertaking changed into to create attention amongst healthcare carriers. “We held symposiums and mini-symposiums for clinicians and researchers in various cities on a normal basis and also had meetings trying to get our message throughout to the audience,” he introduced.
While this is an ongoing process, affordability turned into another situation. However, as clinicians began expertise the benefits of genetic assessments, ultimately, they started out adopting it faster.
Interestingly, the alternative undertaking became fast generation development. As said through Sam, the corporation is committed to investing in these brand new advancements to provide the best services to their patients.
Competition And Plans Ahead
Another similar mission on this space is Hyderabad-primarily based Mapmygenome, the organization in the back of the non-public genomics and predictive checks logo Genomepatri. It makes use of cutting-edge era to decode and understand an man or woman’s DNA and gives actionable steps for people and their physicians towards a more fit life. It gives aplethora of mapping exams consisting of Genomepatri™, CardioCardiomap™, Oncomap™, Gynaecmap™, Brainmap™.
Backed by Aarti Grover MD – CMS Computers; Rajan Anandan – MD- Google India; Arihant Patni –Managing Director at Hive Technologies; and Satveer Singh Thakral – CEO of Singapore Angel Network, it recently raised $1.017 Mn (INR 7 Cr) in Pre Series A round of investment. Last 12 months, the business enterprise tied up with Snapdeal to provide DNA Testing Service.
Sam does not see everyone else inside the diagnostics and studies area as direct competition. However, he accepts that there are wallet of competition in diagnostics in precise sickness areas.
Last economic, the organization claims to have registered $eight Mn in sales and looking beforehand, it objectives to double this variety in the current economic yr.
The organisation is also looking to enlarge its international presence, specially within the South Asian Market. “With our Illumina Hiseq X10, we will be a worldwide player providing huge-scale genomics studies services and answers to various stakeholders such as pharma, biotech and academia,” said Sam.
Editor’s be aware
Every year in India about five Lakh children are born with a few form of genetic ailment. Despite us now having the equipment and generation to display screen foetuses even as in the womb for any anomalies, there nonetheless aren’t treatment plans for a number of these extraordinary births.
India is an emerging marketplace for genomics. A growing middle-magnificence, modern healthcare centers, professional physicians, and accelerated dependency on generation to facilitate healthcare at the prevention stage are riding the growth of the enterprise in India, thereby awaiting the industry to obtain double-digit increase.
Companies including MedGenome are furthering this noble reason by means of making the tech to be had for clinicians whilst additionally contributing to the improvement of science via considerably studying the most mysterious organism of all – the man or women.