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The Disruptors: Mapping the world's genomics diversity

PUBLISHED: 09:58 17 October 2019 | UPDATED: 10:25 17 October 2019

The majority of genomic data comes from people with white European ancestries, meaning 60pc of the worlds population is represented by less than 5pc of current datasets. Global Gene Corp is changing that.   Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The majority of genomic data comes from people with white European ancestries, meaning 60pc of the worlds population is represented by less than 5pc of current datasets. Global Gene Corp is changing that. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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It's a big task - mapping and organising the genomics diversity of the world - but for Sumit Jamuar, chairman and CEO of Global Gene Corp, the challenge is worth it. In the latest installment of The Disruptors video series, he tells us more.

Tell us about Global Gene Corp.

We founded Global Gene Corp to address what we believe is the most important challenge to delivering effective precision healthcare to a global market: the lack of representation of the richness of humanity in the genomics databases.

Our mission is to map and organise the genomics diversity of the world to deliver healthy lives and longevity for everyone. We are democratising genomics to bring the benefits of precision healthcare to everyone, no matter where you live or where you come from.

What was the opportunity you identified that led to the launch of your organisation?

Genetic makeup affects all aspects of health, from the risk of disease to how quickly the body breaks down drugs. This information is increasingly being used as the basis for new tests and treatments - an approach known as precision healthcare.

Global Gene Corp chief executive Sumit Jamuar            Picture: Joao Pedro CorreiaGlobal Gene Corp chief executive Sumit Jamuar Picture: Joao Pedro Correia

But the vast majority of genomic data and insights (almost 80pc) comes solely from people with white European ancestries, with 60pc of the world's population represented by less than 5pc of current datasets. This means that most of the world's population could be missing out on vital healthcare innovations or end up with therapies or diagnostics that are irrelevant or even harmful.

Without including a much wider diversity of the world's population, we will never be able to achieve the promise of genomic technology on a global scale.

How did you use invention and innovation to disrupt the market?

To deliver our mission, our platform needs to have the ethical informed consent, detailed standardised health records and biological samples such as DNA for generating large-scale genomic data. We use artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to analyse and draw insights from all this information to solve health problems that impact all of us.

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This is hard to deliver at scale as it cuts across different areas of expertise, including life sciences technology, participant engagement, data science, business strategy and supply chain management. We've had to develop many innovative ways to solve these challenges, such as bringing genomic data together with artificial intelligence and machine learning to build in-house technology platforms that generate insights into the impacts of global genomic variations on health and disease.

What were the challenges you faced along the way and how did you learn from them?

Bringing genomic medicine from modern, networked cities out into the wider world has brought many challenges in developing and delivering the necessary infrastructure. For example, we had to develop a way of enabling real-time information to support the genomic counsellors who work with all our users, and automatically raising relevant alerts as data is being collected.

What's been your proudest moment so far?

We're very proud to have contributed to the dialogue and understanding of the importance of capturing the diversity of humankind to deliver the promise of precision medicine and genomic technologies to a global audience.

What's your advice to someone launching a disruptive start-up?

Persevere, stay the course and adapt as you get more information. It's vital to get the right team onboard who are passionate about the mission, and also to have fun!

What are your plans for the future?

We want to drive the shift from human genome to global genome, creating the data operating system that will power the global genomics revolution and bring the benefits of precision medicine to everyone, everywhere.

The Disruptors is a video series highlighting the Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridge businesses shaking up their respective industries. Read more and follow the series here.

Want to tell us about how your business is disrupting its sector? Contact David Fieldhouse on 01603 772456.

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