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Cutting edge genomic diagnostics in SL!

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Medical history was created in Sri Lanka when Credence Genomics, the Country’s first and only commercial Biotechnology venture, equipped with Next Generation Sequencing technology was launched on Friday. The farsighted team behind this pioneering venture comprised Dr. Vaz Santosh Gnanam, Raj K. Omprasadham, Ananda Atukorale and Malaka Talwatta. They have succeeded where few have dared to venture. Credence Genomics is the first such entity in Sri Lanka and its founders are amongst a handful in the world at the forefront of this field.

Speaking at the launch that was held at the SLFI amidst a distinguished gathering of doctors, professionals and other corporates, Joint Managing Director Dr Vaz Gnanam said, “As the founders of Credence Genomics, it is our business objective to become a global leader in Genomics through the research, design and development of clinically actionable diagnostics and predictive products and services that change lives”.

Also present in Sri Lanka for the launch was Dr. Michael Paumen, Senior Director of Medical Sciences of Asia Pacific and Japan, Life Sciences Solutions, Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE: TMO) who are the world leaders in serving science, with revenues of $17 billion and approximately 50,000 employees in 50 countries. Thermo Fisher are the equipment providers to Credence Genomics, the Ion Torrent and their premier brands include Thermo Scientific, Applied Biosystems, Invitrogen, Fisher Scientific and Unity Lab Services.

Dr Paumen introduced the potential and capabilities of Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Ion Torrent NGS technologies in the clinical environment, with a focus on Oncology.

In the Healthcare sector, Credence Genomics focuses on predictive and preventive testing to improve and enhance life expectancy. In addition, they have developed a range of commercial Genomic products for various industries that include Bacterial and Fungi testing using the latest metagenomic techniques. The comprehensive sequencing and bioinformatics services offered by the company are available for various commercial sciences, medical, agricultural, marine, as well as environmental applications.
The company, being the exclusive service provider of Next Generation sequencing, is a pioneer in Next-Gen genomic research and product development in Sri Lanka. They are providing novel in-house DNA sequencing facilities for industry, healthcare providers and researchers in the country. The business model is formulated with a semiconductor based DNA sequencing platform combined with a proprietary platform of software and biotechnology. With the efforts and essence of the right combination of technology and human resources, Credence Genomics is ready to deliver real-time genetic services to their customers and invites all potential stakeholders to reap the benefits they offer.

As the pioneer Biotech venture in the country, Credence Genomics will become the first ever provider in Sri Lanka to offer Predictive, Preventive and Personalized Healthcare solutions to the market. The Company aims to be the primary alternative to the existing, reactive, provider centric health care model in the country by delivering personalized medicine, tailor made according to the genomic profile of the patient, and provide the most efficacious, cost effective treatment options.

“The goal of Credence Genomics predictive medicine project is to predict the specific probability of future disease in order that the health-care professionals, as well as the patient themselves can be proactive in instituting lifestyle modifications and increase the physician surveillance if an individual is found to have an increased risk of developing a specific disease”, said Dr Gnanam. “The main scope of predictive medicine entails predicting the probability of disease and instituting specific preventive measures in order to either prevent the disease altogether or significantly decrease its impact upon the patient improving quality of life. The platform that is being formulated at Credence Genomics for preventive medicine could run various what-if scenarios and show individuals what diet, exercise, medication, other factors and combination of factors has the greatest statistical likelihood of reducing their specific disease risk.

“Credence Genomics is planning to deploy a growing suite of Genomic based diagnostic products to reveal the intricacy of networks controlling gene expression and drug response. This could set the concepts of personalized medicine and Pharmacogenomics; delivering the right treatment for the right person at the right time in motion for the first time ever in the country, where Next Generation Sequencing analysis could be used to achieve optimum medical outcomes in the management of a patient’s disease, a phenomenal breakthrough”, said Credence Genomics Joint Managing Director Raj Omprasadham.

Personalized medicine promises to introduce new standards of healthcare helping the doctors to prescribe better, safer and efficacious treatment ‘tailored’ to best fit the individual’s genetic makeup with the least risk of side effects, in contradiction to standard treatment or “one size fits all approach”. Studies show that out of ten patients treated with standard treatments (same drug for a group of patients with the same syndrome irrespective of their genetic make-up), on average about half of them benefit while some may not have any effect at all. Others may even suffer adversely from side effects.

The objective of personalized medicine offered by Credence Genomics is to integrate healthcare delivery with modern human genetics and genomics. Genome sequencing early in the course of a disease may enable the clinicians for more timely and informed intervention, with reduced healthcare costs and improved long-term outcomes. Actionable data that Credence plans to deliver on diseases will have the potential of delivering the most effective diagnosis and treatment for many human diseases. Once launched, Credence plans to promote and integrate its Genomic product offering with tourism, another thrust industry of the country, to generate foreign income through medical tourism.

Credence Genomics has developed a comprehensive business model and a system based on Next Generation Sequencing, It has developed a range of products ready to be launched in most regional markets. By utilizing its years of research and development, learning, accumulated knowledge, global network and valuable experiences, Credence has created a Franchise based business formula for growth. The formula enables Franchisee’s to sign-up and set-up a similar establishment to Credence laboratory and offer its full range of products and services in any market that requires Genomic products and services. South Asia (Total population approximately 1.8 billion) and South East Asia (Total population approximately 610 million) are the target markets for initial growth and expansion. Under this model, Credence Genomics will become the ‘Franchisor’ who grants the rights to a ‘Franchisee’ to operate the ‘System’ within an agreed territory for an agreed upon period of time.

The work being done by Credence Genomics has already received global attention from countries such as Australia, India and the US. The company is already testing samples from these countries; a first for Sri Lanka, which to date has only been sending tissue samples abroad for testing! “The research that is being done at Credence will yield its first patents in biotechnology for Sri Lanka, which will recognise the country, and the scientific community in a different light globally.  We are excited about the fact that our company is attracting talent who would otherwise opt to go abroad. What we are doing here is ground-breaking work in the field of genomics, the first such entity in Sri Lanka, and indeed amongst a handful in the world to enter this bold new frontier. The Company is now on a global scale, building capacity and looking for overseas joint ventures with plans to list on the global stock exchanges”, said Omprasadham.

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