Know thyself via genes
HYDERABAD: Recently, a Hyderabad-based entrepreneur Anu Acharya was in news for sharing the stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the unveiling of the action plan for start-ups at Start-up India meet on January 16. She was also a panelist at the session Making Indian Healthcare Leapfrog.
Anu Acharya, who came back from Chicago to work on personalised medicine like Ayurveda, felt compelled to drive this pioneering effort for India. “As we continue on our quest in the personalised medicine space, we are building a knowledge repository for personalized medicine that will impact millions of Indians in the future,” says Anu Acharya, CEO, Mapmygenome India.
With her startup Mapmygenome, she made a break-through in genome field. It gives the accurate details of your ancestry and your gene traits.
Mapmygenome, a scientifically validated horoscope for health, covers about 100 conditions, traits and drug correlations. It also checks if you have certain reaction to certain drugs. Mapmygenome is Anu Acharya’s second venture in the exciting space of genomics.
“It was built on over 13 years of genomics expertise gained from Ocimum Biosolutions. At Ocimum, we were offering research services in life sciences, using technologies such as genomics, bioinformatics, and more. We knew that we had the technology to impact more people. It is with this vision that we started Mapmygenome,” she explains.
Mapmygenome is a molecular diagnostics company to make people proactive about their health. “By combining genetic health profile and health history with genetic counselling, it provides actionable steps for individuals and their physicians towards a healthier life. Mapmygenome is focused on preventive health-care through healthy habits. Our teams at Hyderabad and Delhi comprise biotechnologists, statisticians, geneticists, bioinformaticians, and medical counsellors. We have a technical expertise of 15+ years in genomics and big data. Our advisory panel has scientists and doctors,” explains Anu.
While people are ready to shell out money to get insight into their genetic makeup, security of personal genetic information is something that most of theme are wary of.
“We use Biotracker by Ocimum Biosolutions to manage and track information at every stage of the process – from profile creation to sample collection, processing and reporting. The system not only allows privileged based access and audit trails for information storage, but also enables delinking of personal information,” explains Anu.
“We have enforced strict security measures to ensure confidentiality of personal information, samples, and reports.”
All the information, including details in the questionnaire are automatically captured and stored in Biotracker. A barcode ID is generated for your profile that is used throughout the process.
The sample collection package is sent to the person and the logistics service providers ensure that your sample is safely transported to our collection center.
A barcode is generated for your sample at the collection center to delink personal information and protect your privacy. The samples are then sent to our lab for further processing. We use your samples only for the analyses mentioned in the agreement. Biotracker tracks the chain of custody throughout.
Throughout the processing, personnel only have access to the barcode ID. Calculations are performed by the system based on your entries in the questionnaire and analysis of sample results. Results are directly parsed into Biotracker without any manual entry. This assures information accuracy and security.
“We spent two years in annotating and building our algorithm before we released it. We did a battery of tests to validate them,” she says.
All reports are machine generated. Throughout the process, no personnel can access your report or tamper with it. Your reports are password protected to make sure no one can access them, except those people with whom you share the reports. Information backup: We periodically backup our system to prevent loss of information. The backup content is stored in a secure manner.
With your consent, the delinked data including results from the questionnaire and genetic information generated from sample processing will be part of our research database.
Anu says the major challenge has been educating consumers and physicians on the merits of genetic testing without a large marketing budget. “Getting the right team in place who have the science background and can articulate it was a challenge too. We want to work with people of Indian origin and it doesn’t matter where they reside,” she tells.