With spiraling cases of diabetes, cancer and stroke, there is a huge scope for genomics industry, as it drives preventive healthcare. Positive Bioscience, a three-year-old company focuses on personal genomics and cancer genomics products
Positive Bioscience started by Samarth Jain in October 2012 in association with Bapsy Jain, and Dr Meetha Medhora has already opened three personal genomics clinics and plans to launch more than 200 personalised genetic testing facilities across the country over a span of three years.
In 2011, while I was working at Wall Street, I was introduced to advances in genomics. Its potential in healthcare was obvious. To make this available in India was the driving force for setting up the company. The company was founded in October 2012. The objective of the company is to help identify people at risk of chronic diseases, assist them in making necessary lifestyle changes and to help live healthy and productive lives, Jain said.
The company focuses on two major products – Personal Genomics for healthy individuals and the test looks for genetic mutations that can predict the risk of several diseases in healthy individuals. Similarly, our cancer genomics test looks at mutations which can help a doctor to select the optimum course of treatment for treating the patients cancer.
Currently, the healthcare model in our country is primarily focused on treatment rather than prevention. This approach has several drawbacks like increased treatment costs, higher mortality rates, lack of effective care etc. Genomics is the new paradigm which helps to identify the risk of a particular disease or several diseases in a patient but also help clinicians to personalise a treatment plan depending on the genetic information of the patient. Our products help an individual understand their health at a molecular level gives them necessary recommendations to reduce their risk for diseases and also advises a personalised treatment strategy. Thus, genetic testing not only gives a person the opportunity to be more informed about their own health but also be an active participant in the management of their diseases or treatment plan which can effectively cut down cost and improve care, he said.
The USP of the Positive BioScience is that they employ tools like big data analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and advanced machine learning techniques to correlate the genetic profiles, the drugs received and sur-vival outcomes. Positive BioScience as developed its own AI computing platform called Positive Intelligence which scans through every drug available for cancer and then categorizes them depending on their response levels in the body. This helps and suggests drugs which have the most likelihood of success in treating the patient.
Being an Economics graduate from University of Illinois, Urbana- Champaign, USA impressed by the way genomics was improving outcomes in cancer and a firm passion for technology is what led me to start Positive Bioscience, Jain informed.
Talking about the challenges Jain informed that in 2012, not a single doctor he met knew about genomic tests. Very few people in the pharmaceutical market were aware of genomics and its implications in the healthcare sector.
The genetic testing market is still in its infancy in India. Majority of the population is still unaware of the availability of these tests. Even at the market level, the biggest hurdle is lack of knowledge and availability of skilled labour in the genomics field. This even causes problem for recruiting people. Both, people and doctors need to be educated to increase the adoption of such cutting edge genetic tests, Jain said.
Positive Bioscience also aims to expand in the cancer genomics space and wish to sequence 2 in every 10 cancer patients in the next three years in the country. On the personal genomics front, the company is planning to partner with more than 200 big hospitals to start personal genomics centres. The company believes that this move will not only help to monitor disease pattern but provide an elaborate view of the healthcare scenario, nationwide.
We are very excited with the potential of genomics in contributing to the healthcare of India. We have just begun, and we will continuously evolve to make the best genomic testing available in India, he added.