June 26, 2019, Cape Town—Artisan Biomed, a subsidiary of the CPGR, and Medicus AI today agreed to jointly advance Precision Medicine in South Africa by rendering and developing AI-powered data use applications
Although often equated with high-throughput and large-scale genomic data generation, such as genome sequencing, Precision Medicine is first and foremost dependent on the efficient utilization of health-related data. Such data, in the form of laboratory results, medical records, self-reported information, or wearable-derived measurements, is often not available in a form that facilitates effective conversion into better medical diagnoses or treatment-related decision making. While these are issues usually more common in developed nations, with advanced healthcare systems, the corresponding problems are exacerbated in developing countries with underdeveloped and resource-stretched healthcare systems.
Medicus AI has developed a platform to interpret a diverse range of health-related data, thus allowing for the effective and efficient use of information generated by different healthcare system stakeholders, including general practitioners, clinicians, medical insurers, diagnostic laboratories, and public healthcare providers. Medicus AI’s proprietary Reasoning Engine gathers, analyses, interprets, and presents data in a manner tailored to end-user needs, thereby dramatically increasing its utility. This has a positive effect on healthcare policy forming, clinical decision making, or individual behavior changing, the latter additionally supported through AI-based coaching.
Baher Al Hakim, CEO, Medicus AI said, ‘Our vision is to unlock humanity’s health data and enable every player in the healthcare system to make smarter decisions. We are particularly keen on providing patient-centered solutions. As health data is multiplying year over year and medicine is becoming more complex, people increasingly need to know more and understand better to make the right decisions. We believe that diagnostic labs and insurance providers can have a transformative and leading role in this new future of healthcare.’
Artisan Biomed will make use of Medicus AI’s platform to enhance the value of its own portfolio of Precision Medicine solutions, including but not limited to its ancestry test offering and exome-based disease panels. Moreover, Artisan Biomed will seek to create partnerships with other stakeholders to create a fully-fledged smart data use platform, fit for health systems in South Africa and on the African continent.
Reinhard Hiller, Director at Artisan Biomed, said ‘We see great potential in working with Medicus AI because its Reasoning Engine has the power to unlock the value intrinsic to data we can generate on a variety of information rich-platforms. In addition, the AI-based solution will galvanize opportunities to work with complementary players in the local health care ecosystem, helping us develop unique and innovative digital solutions with value-add to a diversity of health system stakeholders, and patients in particular.’
About Medicus AI
Medicus AI is building towards a future where the focus on health is part of everyday life: empowering people to get and remain healthy, helping them every step of the way to recover from illness, and clearly explaining everything to make the best decision at any point in time.
Medicus AI converts patient’s medical data into an interactive and personalized experience with color-coded results, easily understood explanations and actionable health tips. Since no two users are alike, Medicus covers are uniquely vast range of medical input as it includes blood biomarkers, medication, signs & symptoms, medical history, lifestyle factors (including wearables) and the patient’s profile. Medicus AI also provides physicians with relevant health-risk assessments and test recommendations based on suspected conditions.
In a next step, Medicus AI quantifies the user’s health and uses Machine Learning to provide uniquely assembled coaching programs that work with the user to improve his health one small step at a time.
All data can always be kept on the user’s or patient’s device , which makes it the only one of its kind.
Information about Medicus AI can be found at https://medicus.ai/.
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.
In early 2019, Artisan Biomed, with CPGR, launched its own ancestry test (www.behappytobeyou.co.za) offering, as a first step to creating a population health framework in South Africa.
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 and Technology (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.