With healthcare, we often get stuck with the mentality of ‘One size fits all.’ Genes, our building block of life are fundamentally unique to each person. They dictate the colour of our hair, the size of our nose, our ability to digest milk, allergies and also determine the risk for certain health conditions like cancer, diabetes and obesity.
In the 1990s, the Human Genome Project began mapping the human DNA. This highlighted the relationship between nutrients, diet and genetics also known as nutrigenomics. It ushered in a confidence in people to help fight the various lifestyle-linked diseases. As the world faces the burden of nutrition-related non-communicable diseases, the market of nutrigenomics was estimated at $287 million in 2018. By the end of 2025, it will reach $845 million.
This science deeply studies and then guides the individual based on their taste perception, macronutrient response, micronutrient requirements and their lifestyle. This helps curate a plan that manages the person’s food intolerances and sensitivities. By following a tailor-made plan the individual’s risk of developing common chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, etc gets reduced.
The Gene Box was founded by childhood friends Pranav Anam and Shiraz Siddique who had heard about the Human Genome Project. Later Taher Kagdi joined their venture. TGB is a health-tech company specializing in predictive genetic analysis for wellness and research. They curate customized reports and actionable recommendations. It conducts research and provides reports and recommendations to help professional healthcare practitioners guide clients on a wide range of issues - disease predisposition, nutritional needs, and most effective fitness regimes.
They build genetic tests for dieticians, nutritionists, pharma companies and FMCG brands. They analyse over 700,000 data points on various health parameters from raw data. The venture has received an undisclosed amount of funds from 10000 startups. Another Indian startup working in a similar domain is MapMyGenome which is based on genomics. Will such startups help 20% of India’s population suffering from chronic diseases?