Prittle Prattle News in conversation with Sushant Kumar, Founder, and CEO, of Genefitletics
Genefitletics is India’s first direct-to-customer microbiome company, pioneering breakthrough discoveries in microbial science to develop a pipeline of direct-to-consumer microbiome tests & environmental innovations to promote better health for humans & multitudinous species. The company envisions making the invisible world of microorganisms visible to help humanity lead longer, happier & healthier lives. The company’s proprietary translational science platform PROTEBA converges microbial sequencing, machine learning & scientific advancements to offer disease-modifying interventions.
What does your company do? Your role in it?
Genefitletics offers microbiome therapeutics as a service that measures & gives a depth breakdown of biology + chemistry at the molecular level of an individual to identify the root cause of chronic diseases, predict & early detect them & inform novel precision therapeutics interventions to cure them. I am the founder, CEO & Chief Architect of Genefitletics & the brain behind building Genefitletics as India’s most sought-after premium microbiome brand.
Evolution in the past few years in the industry you work in. Your contribution to the betterment?
Over the last few decades, the number of people suffering from chronic diseases has quadrupled. People have been losing their life to obesity, type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney diseases, cancer & more. The healthcare system we have today is all about symptom care. It can’t solve chronic conditions as it was never designed that way. Many biochemical activities occur at a molecular level inside our body that programs it for better health or disease. Unfortunately, our healthcare system is not equipped to decode these biochemical interactions & as a proxy, marries symptoms with drugs.
In 1990, Genomics was introduced with the launch of the human genome project to study human DNA. Since its completion in 2003, understanding DNA has made us realize that it is not genes but their expression, modulated by human microbiome functions, that determine the state of health or disease. Since 2012, research on the human microbiome has picked up. However, the cost of sequencing a microbiome sample was as high as $ 1,000. Over the last few years, technological advancement has reduced the cost of analyzing the human body at the molecular & cellular levels. The cost of sequencing has gone down from $ 1,000 to $ 200, the cost of computing to process the biological data has gone down & Artificial Intelligence to make sense of the biological & molecular data has become powerful. This has enabled many players to use next-generation sequencing to make sense of clinical data & bring meaningful interventions for patients.
However, most clinical grade & testing companies focus on microbial DNA- what organisms are there, not what they do. The fact is different organisms can do other things depending on the environment they live in. For instance, two individuals with arthritis can have different organisms in their gut. However, they will still have arthritis since their microbes produce the same chemical or metabolite that causes autoimmune disease. This focus on microbial DNA missed out on giving an accurate picture of health. This is where Genefitletics creates value. Unlike most microbiome companies, we focus on the functional activity of the microbiome- what different microorganisms are producing and how these chemical byproducts impact our biology & then inform novel disease-modifying interventions. Our solutions are changing how we measure, analyze & optimize health for the betterment of humanity.
Any Success routine you would like to suggest?
Prioritize your health over anything else. Focus on three health pillars- 8 hours of Sleep, 60 minutes of physical exercise daily & nutrition. Nutrition, by far, is the most critical determinant of human health. Since the microbiome drives most biological processes, including the absorption of nutrients, aligning your nutrition choices with your microbiome is the key to precision nutrition & better health.
How did the company raise funding, or are you looking forward to the same?
The company recently concluded its pre-seed round at a pre-pre-money valuation of Rs.7.5 Crores from the group of Angels. The money raised will be utilized towards launching a suite of oral microbiome & human genes expression tests and launching its precision biotics brand.
Why are people suffering from chronic diseases at high risk of COVID? Explain Post Covid-19 Scenario by 2030 for the company and your career.
COVID has forced everyone to change the way we look at their health. People dealing with chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases & more were undergoing a high degree of systemic inflammation. Inflammation meant that their immune system was too busy dealing with, killing toxins and pathogens. When this deadly virus enters their body, their immune system cannot deal with it due to ongoing inflammation & people develop COVID. Since 70% of immune cells reside around the gut lining, rebalancing the gut microbiome is the key. We see massive potential for our microbiome tests as people have become more conscious about their health & are looking for scientifically validated health interventions to strengthen their immune cells & minimize instances of inflammation. Over the next 5-7 years, our company will help at least 1 million people reclaim control of their health & improve their health span.
Why did you choose this industry over any other space?
Venturing out Genefitletics is linked to personal health sufferings my family & I faced. Having witnessed my father’s fight with colon cancer, my mother’s journey with type 2 diabetes & practice of modern medicine to suppress my father’s tumor through harmful chemicals rather than identifying the root cause & curing it, I uncovered the critical role of the human microbial population in disease development. Chronic diseases & cancer are one of the biggest epidemics this world is facing & I decided to devote the next 15 years of my career to solving this massive problem.
Inspiring quote for aspiring youth.`
Have a purpose in your life, the objective to which you can devote at least ten years. Do not solely focus on making money. Live to solve a problem that makes life easier for billions of people; money-making is always its byproduct.
Do you like participating in CSR initiatives, and what motivates you?
Yes, I believe in giving back to society in a way that contributes to the betterment of lower strata of people or those dealing with life challenges. Millions of people are not able to earn their sustenance. A small token of help can improve their lives through CSR &/or social sustainability initiatives. As a part of Genefitletics, our most significant sustainability initiative would be to address the food problem faced by India by improving the biodiversity of soil
Could you elaborate on the challenges you encountered while establishing and retaining?
The biggest challenge we faced was embracing a change & making people understand that human health is driven by the health of trillions of microorganisms living on & inside of us. During our pitches, several funds & investors also questioned the causation of microbiome with various diseases. However, there are numerous studies & available scientific literature testifying to the microbiome-health connection. Some of the notable doctors agreed that the current set of health interventions lacks precision & there is a need to blend modern medicine with system biology. However, exponential knowledge dissemination is required for the doctor ecosystem to build microbial science into their treatment for better health outcomes.