The genetic testing market has grown by over 15 percent a year to reach Rs 400-Rs 500 crores in India, it is nothing when compared to its potential and growth in countries like the US or India's routine diagnostics market worth Rs 40,000crore. Of the 26 million born in the country every year, at least a million are born with genetic diseases and most go undetected.
The India Genetic Testing Market was valued at USD 60.78 million in 2022 and is further anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 6.94%, during the forecast period owing to the rising patients of with chronic and genetic diseases and increasing technological advancements.
The growing awareness and demand for personalized medicines and treatment to ensure quality treatment and witness improved results is expected to pave the way for the genetic testing market growth. Advancements and technological upgradation in the field of genetic testing are expected to create lucrative opportunities for market growth in the next five years.
Dr.Manoj Gopalkrishnan is the Co-Founder of Algorithmic Biologics. Algorithmic Biologics is a Bengaluru-based deep-tech startup that is building algorithms for molecular programming. Its technology works like a compression algorithm for molecular testing and has applications in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, agriculture, animal husbandry, food safety, synthetic biology, and molecular biology research.
Product offerings by Algorithmic Biologics Pvt Ltd
Dr. Manoj Gopalkrishnan says, “We all say that health is wealth. But, to unlock the wealth of health, you need to go to the molecular scale. This is where the information lies for the doctor to decide the course of treatment. Molecules have great wealth for health. But, molecules have great wealth for many other industries like healthcare, pharma, and manufacturing industries. Many technologies are mining this information like diagnosis, food safety, or drug discovery.
Dr. Manoj Gopalkrishnan further adds, “Algorithmic Biologics come in as a scale multiplier on top of these technologies. We bring scale efficiency to diagnostic and drug discovery pipelines which are already existing. They use our algorithm to bring about savings in cost without any new capital investment needed which makes them more productive. So, we are trying to unlock this wealth at a molecular scale to serve good health and wellness to everybody.”
USP for Algorithmic Biologics
Dr. Manoj Gopalkrishnan informs, “Algorithmic Biologics' key product is “Tapestry” and what is unique about it is that it is software living on the cloud. There is some engagement with the lab to provide efficient solutions. But, the major part of the product is considered as the software living in the cloud. This makes us very scalable to provide solutions to the labs. For example, If labs have a large number of samples to test, they can pool them into smaller groups, and test those pools and groups. But, still, recover testing for individual samples. So, we have algorithms underlined and developed patterns for it. We can deploy this algorithm in multiple cases-
- Covid test
- Newborn screening
- Drug discovery
- Blood bank screening
This is the unique feature of Algorithmic Biologics where it can be used for multiple screenings in different fields.”
Lives touched so far by Algorithmic Biologics
Dr. Manoj Gopalkrishnan states, “Algorithmic Biologics is fairly a young start-up and only 18 months old. We got the opportunity to serve the community through COVID times. We have been in a partnership for campus screening including the Department of Science and Technology, and the Raksha Program since the COVID emergence. We have been screening campuses for COVID. Through that, we have touched many lives.
We are looking forward to making a difference in other cases. For example, In newborn screening, there may be chances of mortality or lifelong morbidity with preventable causes due to inborn defective metabolism. These conditions can be easily preventable with screening tests at birth which is already happening in countries like the US and UK. But, in India, only 2% of newborns are getting screened. Doctors from legal bodies and State Governments have also recommended the screening at birth. Many state governments have started following the same but cost is the major concern for some of them. We are trying to build Algorithmic Biologics to bring the cost down and make it more affordable. So, with this, the number can flip from 2% to 100% for every State Govt in India and we are focussed to deploy this so that every newborn in India can benefit from it. This is very inspiring for me and we hope to make a better impact in this world.”
Fund Utilization of Algorithmic Biologics
Dr. Manoj Gopalkrishnan emphasizes, “The funding for Algorithmic Biologics is going towards building more in IT infrastructure because a strong IT portfolio is the foundation of a good deep tech startup. We strongly believe in this and we have been working on it. We are consolidating all algorithmics and innovation which has to go in. So, this is where the money is going mostly.
The important thing for entrepreneurs to be able to serve people at scale is to do it sustainably. This has been a learning experience. We are on the cusp of ideas that are there and taken forward through innovation. There is a need for an end-to-end solution for this. To carry that out, one needs to build a company. So, the money's gone to build the company for a good foundation.”
Expansion Plans for Algorithmic Biologics
Dr. Manoj Gopalkrishnan states, “We are following the deep tech startups which have been before us. We see diagnostics as a big market and we see some exciting possibilities in diagnostics to make a big impact. We are seeing great possibilities in pharma and drug inventions. We are also seeing some exciting opportunities in fundamental biology and research. We are partnering with research for technology and science. This keeps us on foot for scientific purposes.”
Piece of Learning
Dr. Manoj Gopalkrishnan informs, “We are focussed on unlocking screenings for -
- Newborn screening
- Tuberculosis screening
- Population-level genetic screening
A lot of this is not happening because the cost-benefit analysis is not working. If the cost is brought down in some way without affecting the genetic screening quality, it is going to be a game changer.”
Experience with Genetic Screening
Dr. Manoj Gopalkrishnan says, “We are still at the pilot stages for the genomic testing situations. We have strong industry partners who have put faith in this technology. We are working on a couple of projects which have a high potential of impact to touch and change more lives. India's ecosystem has matured and companies like ours are finding partners easily and also internationally, there have been people willing to talk to us and explore what technologies can do in their pipeline. So, overall the timing has been encouraging for us.”
Genetic testing and screening with accuracy and Government support
Dr. Manoj Gopalkrishnan informs, “I was at a conference recently called International Conference for Microbial Resistance, I got a chance to talk with an infectious disease specialist. What I came across is that in the community of infectious disease specialists and clinicians, there is a frontier emerging in clinicians who are relying more on genetic testing. There are many advantages of genetic testing over another diagnostic testing. Therefore, it has been seen now that genomic sequencing is becoming a baseline test. Genomics is going to become mainstream with standard ways to interrogate what is inside cells, tissues, and bodies. We are excited about it and we are working in the same direction with promising results and an interesting partnership which we will announce in a couple of months.”
Edited By: Dr.Rati Parwani
Contributed By: Dr. Manoj Gopalkrishnan, Co-Founder, Algorithmic Biologics