Hyderabad: An alumnus of IIT Kharagpur and University of Illinois, Anu Acharya, began her entrepreneurial debut with Ocimum Biosolutions in 2000 which she led as the CEO until March 2013. She went on to start another journey as an entrepreneur by creating a genomics company ‘Mapmygenome’ during early 2013 with an aim to provide better health using technology. The company’s vision is to touch 100 million lives.
Anu had been conferred upon as the Member of Young Leaders Forum by British High Commission in 2013. She was also recognised by several awards such as the Young Global Leader by World Economic Forum in 2011 and Astia Life Science Innovators Award in 2008 and was chosen among 25 ‘Tech Titans’ under 35 by Red Herring in 2006.
Her company Mapmygenome helps medical fraternity and patients in the entire stage of diagnostic tests, through professional genetic counseling, is going to focus more on enabling diagnosis in several specialties in the time to come. The company is striving to help patients to begin right drug regimen that best suits them and their condition.
The company provides a range of personal genomics, molecular diagnostics, brain wellness solutions, TB diagnostic kits, and DNA forensics. The personal genomics range includes Genomepatri and smaller panels for Cardio, Onco, Brain, Fitness, etc.; MedicaMap for drug response prediction; and whole-genome sequencing. Molecular diagnostics range includes genetic tests prescribed by physicians to confirm diagnosis.
The company has established partnerships with CARE Hospitals Group, The Birthplace, MaxCure and Rainbow. It has entered into corporate tie ups with Microsoft and Reliance.
Mapmygenome offers a low cost personal genomics test, Sugargene, a personal genomics test to understand the genetic risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity, nutrigenetics, and management options. Through this test, the company is trying to bring lifestyle changes that can help people achieve optimum health and save on expensive treatments.
Anu Acharya, CEO, Mapmygenome, told Telangana Today, “Most of us have at least one person in the family suffering from Diabetes and have seen how it painfully attacks the rest of the body. Diabetes is preventable, but intervention must be done early. We aim to combat two greatest global epidemics of our time – Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.”
Mapmygenome’s Spoligo TB in vitro diagnostic test kit that helps in speedy detection and typing of large number of TB samples has received the CE Certificate, meeting European standards. The kit has entered the global market as a diagnostic device. The kit had been used extensively in Africa, South America, and Europe until now.
The company has also started collaborating with nutritionists and nutrition clinics for its genetic test SlimGene for weight loss. It launched last year, a carrier and newborn screening test called Babymap. Recommended for newborns, expecting parents, and people planning a pregnancy, this test screens for several metabolic conditions that can be treated in newborns.
The company is now mostly focused on carrier screening, baby screening and cancer diagnosis. Its counseling teams help pre-screen pregnant mothers. The cancer tests help to determine whether chemotherapy can suit particular patients and trace the genetic risk that runs in families. This helps in guiding patients to medical specialists.
On the public awareness on cancer diagnosis, she says, “The awareness levels are currently low. Our tests help both the patients and the doctors (oncologists). Symptoms can be similar, but with the genetic understanding it’s easier to diagnose and prevent disease conditions from occurring.” The company which has operations in Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Goa and Kolkata gets samples from across the country and has established ties with hospitals and pathology laboratories.
Competition in this space is growing, Acharya adds. “But we are expanding our reach. We are also talking to several stem cell companies and are looking at niche opportunities.”
The company which raised pre-series A round of funding in March 2014 is in the process of raising fresh funds to meet its growth needs. “We are in talks now and plan to raise a big amount in the next round,” she informed.
Aarti Grover, MD, CMS Computers, Rajan Anandan, MD, Google India, Arihant Patni, MD, Hive Technologies and Satveer Singh Thakral, CEO of Singapore Angel Network had invested in the company so far.