Updated on 23 August 2012
Pharmacogenomics is fueling the growth of personalized medicine in India
Thanks to the successful completion of the Human Genome Project, scientists now have a set of tools that can be readily used by them in order to understand the complexity of diseases and their variability in different human beings. These tools assist scientists in refining risk prediction and also in evaluating the response to therapies with greater precision.
The current healthcare scenario is distinctly more of 'trial-and-error', which subjects the patients and their physicians to a larger uncertainty of outcome. In the patient's case it often entails greater physical and financial burden. Advances in genomics now enable scientists to examine the DNA of each-and-every individual and then predict if the person would be susceptible to a particular disease or whether a particular medicine be suitable for that person in case he falls sick. This is where pharmacogenomics comes into play.
After the trend of setting up CROs in India, pharmacogenomics-based company seem to be the new trend. This is because India has a large population and there are high incidences of genetic disorders in the country. Companies have started investing in pharmacogenomics as it offers several advantages such as elimination of the unpredictable nature of drug development, bring new products to the market and the company could also benefit up to $200-to-$500 million for each drug.
A start-up company called Xcode Lifesciences has come up with the InDNA technology to provide solutions to lifestyle-related diseases such as coronary, diabetes and obesity. A person has to order the test online after which a saliva kit will be shipped to the customer. This saliva kit is completely non-invasive and safe. DNA extracted from the saliva will then be used to determine the allelic information of the individual using high-throughput genotyping techniques.
In April this year, NutraGene launched the country's first commercial genetic test for type 2 diabetes. NutraGene's Type 2 Diabetes Genetic Scan is a DNA testing service that screens DNA variations that have been widely replicated as risk factors for type 2 diabetes. It is based on a buccal (cheek) swab sample, and the methodology of targeted mutation screening (genotyping).