Genome-based wellness facility SAGENOME to use AI & ML to analyse data for higher accuracy.

Genome-based wellness facility SAGENOME to use AI & ML to analyse data for higher accuracy.

Leveraging Kerala’s vibrant startup ecosystem, two former heads of leading central government institutions here have partnered to launch a technology-driven, genome-based wellness enterprise that uses saliva to analyse a person’s genetic disposition to predict  critical diseases to which an individual is prone and preventing it through precision medicine.

Incubated at the Integrated Startup Complex (ISC) of the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) in Kochi, SAGENOME has already rolled out a “Home Saliva Collection Kit” at the national level, besides offering multiple genome-based tests.

The collected samples are currently analysed at the BioNest Biotechnology Business Development Incubator at ISC and under a service agreement at the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) till its own facility is ready at the Life Sciences Park in Thiruvananthapuram.

Seeking to attain greater predictive accuracy to the analysis, the company is developing a proprietary software for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML).This is critical since there is a huge amount of data which needs to be analysed repeatedly.

SAGENOME, set up by Dr M. Ayyappan, former CMD of HLL Lifecare Limited (HLL), and Professor M. Radhakrishna Pillai, former Director of Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, is powered by its platform OhMyGene, which leverages Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) of DNA and its application to identify diseases and their prevention, using just a little saliva.

The first round of investment is in the offing. It will be used for creating its laboratory in a one-acre site at Life Sciences Park. “Our own laboratory with the state-of-the-art facilities will be ready in the next one year,” SAGENOME Chairman Dr Ayyappan and CEO Dr Pillai told a news conference here today.

“The saliva collected by using the kit allows analysing thousands of variations in the human genome. It sets the ground for personalized healthcare by identifying patterns within genetic data sets so that computer models can make predictions about an individual’s odds of developing a disease. It will thus help in suggesting suitable medicinal interventions and changes in lifestyles,” Dr. Pillai said.

The OhMyGene platform provides genetic information associated with cancer, cardiovascular and neurological diseases, reproductive health & infertility management, pharmacogenomics and pro-active health management.

SAGENOME will set new paradigms in personalized health care and is developing innovative methods for early cancer detection using an easily-collected ‘liquid biopsy’ from a blood sample that may be over 100 times more sensitive in detection and monitoring of many tumors.

Dr. Pillai also said the unique facet of OhMyGene is its personalized genetic wellness programmes specifically in nutrition, skin, hair health and high performance sport. Personalized nutrition through nutrigenomics will tremendously aid use of functional foods and supplements based on a person’s genomic information,” he explained. 

Since genetic variations play a major role in infertility of both male and female partners, SAGENOME has begun focussed research in this area.

Another distinctive feature of SAGENOME’s portfolio is Ayurveda, the ancient science of life based on the concept of preventive and personalized medicine. The company intends to develop ‘Ayurgenomics’ to provide genetic validation and support to the central theory of Ayurveda that integrates food (Pathya or Ahara) and drugs (Ousadha) in therapeutics to maintain harmonization of the “Doshas” or physiological factors according to individualistic variability or “Prakriti” and environmental factors.  This portfolio will be ready for public use by December.

Dr Ayyappan has the distinction of transforming HLL from a contraceptive-making Central PSU to a “Mini Ratna” healthcare behemoth. Dr Pillai, who became the youngest head of a national research institution when he was appointed Director of RGCBat the age 44, led the institute for 15 years, turning it into one the country’s leading biotechnology institutes that also developed 33 startup companies in the BioNest technology incubator.