June 12, 2019 – Cape Town, South Africa – Artisan Biomed, a subsidiary of the CPGR, and My BluePrint, a South African startup, have entered an understanding to develop smart assays to inform individualized treatment plans for vitamin supplements
The multi-vitamin market, an industry valued USD 80 bn globally, aims at customizing the preparation of vitamin formulations, tailored to an individual’s dietary, fitness, health, or other requirement. In South Africa, the market has seen strong growth rates in recent years owing to an increased consumer awareness about well-being and preventative healthcare. Vitamin deficiencies have been identified as areas of concern in South Africa where mal- and under-nutrition is still quite common. At the same time, even well-rounded diets can leave health-conscious individuals with nutritional gaps, creating a market for providers of tailored solutions.
To address these challenges My BluePrint aims to combine various healthcare data inputs, including molecular (e.g. genetic) and lifestyle data, to tailor treatment plans to an individual’s personal needs and biological makeup. The need for a more tailored approach to taking dietary supplements was recently highlighted in a 2015 NEJM article that reported an approximate 23,000 emergency department visits per year, in the US, because of adverse events related to dietary supplements.
Said Trevor Brewer, My BluePrint’s CEO, ‘we aim to personalize the healthcare system by aggregating a diverse range of data to develop individualized treatment plans, thereby optimizing health outcomes. As a startup, partnering with a company with the unique expertise that Artisan Biomed provides, will enhance My BluePrint’s value offering to our customers and our ability to lead our company into a successful future’.
Artisan Biomed makes use of cutting-edge genomic and other molecular applications, available through the CPGR, to create information-rich data sets which it then interprets to derive population genomic or diagnostic insights, or to tailor the provision of a medical treatments. Among others, Artisan Biomed uses Genechip technology to profile 1000s of genetic markers spread across an individual’s DNA. These markers can be used to inform genetic ancestry or reveal genetic differences in drug metabolic pathways which can affect individual responses to drugs, in terms of therapeutic as well as adverse effects.
Said Reinhard Hiller, Managing Director at CPGR, ‘we see great potential in working with a local partner who has a vision for and an ability to develop individualized treatment plans. Building a relationship with My BluePrint is part of creating a comprehensive platform for effectively using ‘precision data’ to achieve bespoke health outcomes. This is part of our effort to build a vibrant startup ecosystem in South Africa. To this end, we have been forging relations with emergent and existing South African ventures, and will continue to do so in the future.’
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About My BluePrint
Currently, medicinal treatment is largely a ‘one size fits all’ approach, with dosage forms and diagnostic algorithms assuming a uniform patient group. However, genetic and lifestyle differences between patients may affect the outcome of treatment. In addition, standard dosages may not cater for specific needs based on an individual’s lifestyle, diet, or genetic underpinning.
My BluePrint consists of a team of passionate healthcare professionals and change-makers, focused on solving the priority healthcare needs of the African continent. The company is working towards providing access to good quality, safe, affordable healthcare across Africa through its vision is to improve the lives of all by providing individualized treatment, enabling more effective and efficient healthcare provision.
The company is currently a participant in the first cohort of the bespoke African biotech incubator OneBio.
Information about My BluePrint can be found at http://myblueprintrx.com.
About Artisan Biomed
South Africa has a unique burden of disease profile, challenged by one of the world’s highest TB and HIV prevalence and an increasing shift towards Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), a trend caused by increasing urbanization and life style changes. This increase in ‘Western’ diseases is complicated by a lack in understanding of the contribution of the African ‘genome’ to disease development owing to a historical focus on Caucasian populations for biomedical research and development. Cutting edge diagnostic solutions are presently not available to the majority of (South) Africa’s population, mainly due to a lack of capacity (infrastructure, expertise) and financial resources.
Cutting-edge Genomics expertise is available in South Africa through the CPGR and can be used to develop and implement applications with advanced clinical utility in areas such as oncology, reproductive health, pediatrics, pharmacogenetics or nutrigenetics, contributing positively towards a population health paradigm for its citizenry. The corresponding data can be captured in a systematic manner, laying the basis for future discovery and medical innovation.
To bring Precision Medicine to Africa, CPGR has formed Artisan Biomed, Pty Ltd. Artisan Biomed aims to develop Precision Medicine solutions by developing and implementing three distinct solutions: (i) provision of precision disease & health management services; (ii) translational research services; (iii) development of tailored medical solutions for people of African descent.
Information about Artisan Biomed can be found at www.artisanbiomed.co.za.
The CPGR is a non-profit company located in Cape Town, South Africa, based on an initiative by the Department of Science (DST), and financially supported by the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA). The CPGR combines state-of-the-art information-rich genomic and proteomic (‘omics’) technologies with bio-computational pipelines to render services and support projects in the life science and biomedical arena in (South) Africa, all run in an ISO 9001:2015 certified and ISO 17025 compliant quality management system.
Among others, the CPGR has recently launched an accelerator program to stimulate the creation of South African start-ups based on ‘omics’ technologies and set up Artisan Biomed to develop and implement Precision Medicine solutions in (South) Africa. The organization uses the open-source Baobab LIMS for sample and data tracking; and, it has recently implemented a DRAGEN platform to enhance the development and execution of high-speed/high-volume NGS data-sets. CPGR also hosts DIPLOMICS, a large infrastructure program initiated by the DST. In December 2017, CPGR entered into a partnership with the Sunflower Fund to enhance stem cell donor typing in Africa.
In support of Genomics capacity development in Africa, CPGR has launched an iScan system for high-end genotyping studies in early 2018. In April 2018, CPGR announced a new partnership to form a bespoke African biotech incubator, OneBio.