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Sam Santhosh | Founder Chairman | MedGenome | Insights Care

Endorsed with the prestigious ‘Leadership Award in Advancing Precision Medicine’ by ABP news, MedGenome is India’s premier genomics-based research and Diagnostics Company. While it offers comprehensive diagnostic solutions to researchers, doctors and hospitals, the company’s clinical, phenotypic and genomics data provide in-depth perceptions and aid in drug discovery to complex diseases at a molecular and genetic level.

In the genomic science space, it is critical to ensure you are able to localize your offering to the genetic pool of a certain population. At MedGenome, apart from global US and Europe data, it has access to data pool and insights that are centric to the Indian and Asian population. This sets the company apart from various other international players who are trying to make inroads into this market.

MedGenome has worked extensively on building clinical databases of more than 1 million patients through collaborations. It is also a founding member of GenomeAsia 100K, an initiative to sequence 100,000 Genomes in Asia, with which the company aims to provide a unique resource of genetic research for the world.

Uniqueness at its best

MedGenome has a strong belief in ‘Innovation’ as many of its tests have been developed in-house including its comprehensive Gene Panels. Its diverse range of tests includes carrier screening test for couples planning a baby or a whole exome sequencing test for identifying gene mutations in rare diseases. The company believes in a continuous revolution to cut the cost of genetic tests and empower clinicians with actionable clinical insights for better outcomes.

As the company strongly believes in offering Quality, MedGenome adheres to the highest international standards with services and have obtained the prestigious CAP accreditation for all its labs across India. The company implements modern molecular techniques such as FISH, PCR, Sanger Sequencing and Microarray to offer broad solutions to the fraternity. Currently, it is the only comprehensive diagnostics company that has conducted highest number of NGS sequencing in South Asia with the help of its cutting-edge genome sequencing platforms such as Illumina’s NovaSeq, HiSeq X, HiSeq 4000 and 2500, MiSeq, etc.

Assorted Services

MedGenome’s offerings primarily comprises of three components:

  1. Diagnostic testing to be used by doctors and hospitals covers the following:
  • Prima: An integrated solution covering oncology, hemato-oncology and non-malignant hematology. Its flagship products at MedGenome are Liquid Biopsy using the ct-DNA approach, HLA Typing for donor selection, Gene panels that provide germline predisposition, somatic cancer response prediction, clinical exome and others.
  • Actia: It is for the therapeutic areas such as Neurology, Nephrology, Endocrinology wherein the flagship products include gene panels for diagnosing the root cause of a genetic disorder, prenatal testing for parents with suspected genetic issues.
  • Claria: It is a Reproductive Health screening solution focused on mother and child. Here the flagship products include 2nd Generation non-invasive prenatal screening test (NIPT) covering 10 most common chromosomal disorders. Besides, a Carrier Screening test can be conducted to find out carrier status for autosomal recessive disorder for a couple planning a baby. We also have the expertise to conduct a PGS to screen for chromosomal disorders in an embryo conceived through IVF.
  1. Customized research solutions to researchers working in universities, research institutes companies and hospitals. A whole range of solutions covering DNA and RNA are being offered here.
  2. Joint research working with companies focused on finding precision medicine solutions for doctors and patients

The company offers more than 475 genetic tests across several disease categories such as pediatrics, neurology, oncology, hematology, endocrinology, nephrology, ophthalmology, etc. and have partnered with major hospitals and research centers across India. 

About the Dedicated Leader

Owing to his interest and passion in science and technology, Sam Santhosh, the Founder Chairman of MedGenome established the company in 2013. He is an entrepreneur with more than two decades of extensive experience in initiating and running successful businesses. He founded Calsoft in 1992 and escalated it to become a global IT player with over 1,200 employees and offices in eight countries, which then went public in India in 1996. During 2009, Sam started out as a general sequencing lab in Cochin and in the next two years, the team had started developing tests targeted at specific diseases and disorders. By 2013, the operations scaled up and MedGenome was conceptualized.

Being an investor and mentor for many companies, Santhosh is currently a board member at Impelsys Inc, New York, ePay Healthcare, San Francisco, SciGenom Labs, Cochin, Emerge Ventures, Singapore and the Centre for Commercialization of Antibodies (CCAB) Toronto, Canada.

A natural entrepreneur, Sam constantly challenges and redefines the boundaries of his own personal achievements. Having spent leading a software firm over two decades in the United States, he drew parallels in the field of genomics to the computing industry. Sam believes that harnessing the power of science is critical to innovation and this strong belief has led him to move into a future blending science & technology with business.

I was convinced that genomics would be the most significant instrument to change the future of our species and its application in medical health, life sciences, agriculture, veterinary sciences, aquaculture, and environmental cleanup and so on, seemed limitless. That belief started me on a journey in Genomics-based entrepreneurship which has allowed me to actively participate in this revolution,” says Santhosh.

Awards and Commendable Achievements

MedGenome was the first company to launch the first clinical exome (sequencing all genes) for rare pediatric diseases in India; which is one of the biggest moments considered by the organization. Until now, the company has completed testing of around 5000 cases with approximate 40% success rate in identifying diagnosable diseases.

Today, MedGenome is the only genetic diagnostics lab in India which is CAP accredited for Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) and Whole Exome Sequencing (WES).

  • Awarded the ‘Emerging Company of the Year’ under Bioinformatics & System Biology category At India Bio 2016
  • Recognized by BusinessWorld as a Disruptor in 2017
  • Had been the finalists for India’s Emerging Global Companies at IE20 London 2016
  • Also received ‘Best Life Science Company’ award by ET Now
  • ‘Making Of Developed India’ (MODI) Awards in Feb 2018

Apart from these achievements, MedGenome has successfully developed ONCPEPT which is an end-to-end genomics platform to address the unmet needs of cancer immunotherapy drugs. It has also established DIABETOME, a clinical knowledge base to promote understanding and treatment of diabetes. This will enable novel research and diagnostics in the area of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. The company’s research capabilities have led to various collaborations in the area of inherited diseases, familial deafness and non-invasive prenatal screening test.

Happy Clients at MedGenome

Being a next-generation diagnostics company, MedGenome works with experts to help people find answers to their health concerns which could have a genetic linkage. This approach has led the company to achieve large feats with best client experiences. MedGenome shares some of its memorable experiences.

After a 12-year long struggle and multiple IVF attempts a couple was blessed with a son who was conceived using IVF in combination with an advanced genetic screening technique called Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS). Prior to this, the couple suffered multiple miscarriages. On investigation, it was found that the miscarriages occurred due to aneuploidies in the fetus. 11 embryos from the next IVF cycle were screened using PGS at MedGenome Labs. PGS involves analyzing few cells from an IVF Embryo and checking if the number of chromosomes is normal. The report provided by MedGenome recommended the best embryos for transfer that resulted in normal pregnancy and a healthy baby.

In the case of a 35-year-old male with developmental delays who had 2 episodes of seizures and was brought to the hospital and testing showed that he had hyperammonemia. A routine biochemical test done earlier for Urea cycle test came up normal, but the treating doctor decided to go for a broader genetic test as a baseline biochemical test might not pick up during asymptomatic times. The clinical exome genetic test performed at MedGenome Labs showed a genetic defect that manifested in Urea Cycle Deficient Disorder. Thus, Genetic testing was able to provide the correct diagnosis even when symptoms are not present. Genetic testing has also allowed us to diagnose many metabolic disorders which if detected early and treated timely can prevent neurological damage.

Building Strong Organizational Culture

While speaking about how the team members are motivated at MedGenome, Santhosh asserts, “Our work domain is a niche one where we continuously work on new challenges with new areas of focus and innovations. We have a like-minded team of scientists, bioinformatics, genome analysts who understand the larger vision of the organization and their contribution to healthcare on the whole. The work we do supports a paradigm shift in how diagnostics and targeted therapy will impact human wellbeing. This gives them an immense sense of pride and keeps our workforce motivated.”

MedGenome provides its teams with the best in class infrastructure as a part of their work environment. The company’s continuous training program keeps its staff constantly upgraded and updated with a knowledge ground at par with the rest of the world. The company provides end-to-end doctor-prescribed genetic diagnostic solutions for patients. The team also believes that the genomic data on Indian population is a great source of genomics research which allows us to understand the history and pattern of diseases.

Ultimate Goal: Customer Satisfaction & Loyalty

We are a genetic diagnostics organization and our end goal is to enable researchers and doctors make an informed decision about the study or on the course of treatment respectively,” says Santhosh on speaking about the company goal.

He further adds, “Our commitment and subject understanding are very unique and help us provide data points that can assist medical professionals to understand a health problem better and thus deliver what is known as precise medical care for patients. Over and above, we are the knowledge partners to doctors in helping them understand the application of a genetic test in their practice. We also undertake patient counseling to enable a well-informed decision.”

With its world-class technical expertise and a team of domain experts, MedGenome provides data points and precise reasons behind the incidence of a disease which becomes instrumental in defining the treatment plan for a patient. Further, as it is the only company to have both diagnostics and research verticals, it will be able to build the Indian baseline data which will aid in drug discovery and developing new tests.  The company is hoping that the large diverse Indian population would be a great platform in helping Global Pharma companies understand diseases better and develop new drugs.

Social Activities for Health Enhancement

MedGenome firmly believes that education about the potential of genetic diagnostics in everyday health care is very pivotal. The understanding and intent to mainstream genetics in diagnosis is the next leap the industry can take to improve outcomes.

It also realizes the overall investment the domain needs before its complete potential is leveraged. The company invests in educating and demonstrating all aspects of genetic testing. To cater to these objectives, MedGenome works with the doctors and general consumers on various educational seminars and CMEs. It also conducts free Genetic Counseling sessions for patients and their families to establish the need for genetic testing and clear understanding of the subject matter.

With its prime purpose to improve healthcare outcomes, MedGenome also collaborates with several government hospitals to subsidize the costs of tests for BPL patients.

Plotting Success for Advanced Future

MedGenome would be accelerating its biomarker discovery programs and further the development of MedGenome’s OncoPept™ suite of cancer immunotherapy biomarker solutions. These efforts will enable global genomic and biopharmaceutical researchers to access MedGenome’s advanced research solutions and leverage the world’s most diverse genetic variant database drawn from Indian population for early drug discovery and target validation.

MedGenome aims to lead the next wave of innovation in molecular biology-based diagnostics. It is rapidly expanding its diagnostic test portfolio and aggressively working towards creating awareness about the utility and efficacy of its diagnostic solutions in the medical fraternity. Realizing the tremendous potential of its portfolio in reducing the burden of disease, MedGenome has begun extending its offerings in neighboring countries as well.

Our in-house intellect and infrastructure enable us to constantly innovate to benefit and bring out the importance of genetic diagnostics in the healthcare industry. There are multiple projects and tests we are developing in the area of cardiovascular and infectious.

To Read More Visit Website: MedGenome