I’ve always held that healthcare services would be some of the main beneficiaries of our expanding digitalized world. Cloud based innovations in particular offer incredible potential for storing, and exchanging data on a scale which would have been unheard of only a few years ago. Not only that, but personalizing such data is easier than ever too.
The sector of the healthcare industry which might stand to gain the most from new technology rapidly expanding through the market could well be genomics. Being able to efficiently track our genetic makeup has always been a challenge, not just due to a lack of an efficient platform to do so through, but also due to the costs involved. Luckily, the required investment level associated with genome sequencing is dropping fast, meaning that it’s now more cost-effective than ever for individuals to map, and track their own genetic makeup.
Tute Genomics is one of the first companies taking major steps in realizing that goal.
The company offers a cloud based platform for genome interpretation. This allows both doctors, and their patients to easily interpret, and monitor genetic variants. Why is this important you ask? Well, it could be life saving. Being able to spot gene variations which could turn into future diseases at an early stage offers medical professionals a head start in formulating a proper care plan, and could also substantially increase a patient’s chances of survival.
Along with the primary service, Tute also provides its users access to personalized clinical reports, along with features like the ‘Tute Score’. As the company puts it:
The Tute Score is an unprecedented data element that employs a support vector machine (SVM) algorithm in combination with a Bayesian model to extrapolate the knowledge of over 60 annotation sources for variants, as well as the propensity of genes to cause Mendelian diseases and the location of variants within genes. The result is a numerical value on a scale of 0-1, which represents likelihood of a variant having deleterious effects. A Tute score is assigned to each SNV or indel that causes protein sequence changes.
In addition, users can also take advantage of numerous visual reports through the Tute platform.
Having been founded in 2012, and headed by President Kai Wang, and CEO Reid Robinson, until now the company has amassed a total of $1.5 million in funding from a variety of sources. To be fair, this is a relatively small amount, especially in comparison to the $15 million that likeminded startup DNAnexus has managed to raise, albeit over a longer period of time.
More than that though, given the rate of investment in the field of healthcare technology I might have expected the firm to have pulled in a larger sum by now. It might just be my view on the service being offered (more on that below), however one would assume that ideas of this nature would be more heavily rewarded.
To pick up where I left off, the lack of funding up to this point does raise a few eyebrows. To be fair, Tute was only founded about two years ago, and given the time it takes to grow a service like this, you might have to stay patient for a few months before really getting out there and seeking out investors.
Having said that, the service itself is extremely impressive. Thinking of the real life implementation potential technology like this has is what drives my interest in startups to begin with. The idea that an individual might survive a cancer diagnosis that would have killed them a few years ago, just because it was spotted far ahead of what was possible then is an amazing luxury, and one which will be available to more people every year as investment in services like this grow, and companies like Tute Genomics continue to utilize the data revolution cloud based technology has sparked.