Sequencing the human genome is becoming increasingly affordable, and these plummeting costs are driving an explosion of companies that offer personalized genomic services. But the young bioinformatics scientist Óscar Flores is not like the rest. His company, Made of Genes, not only offers genomic information to users, it also provides a platform through which other companies can offer their genomic analysis services. This combination gives rise to a kind of digital bioinformatics marketplace where the user can decide which medical professionals can access their data and when. This innovation has earned Flores a place amongst MIT Technology Review, Spanish Edition's Innovators Under 35 Spain 2016.
Another advantage of Made of Genes is that this marketplace serves as a repository for sequenced data and the analyses performed by each company. Currently, each company performs their own analyses using their own techniques, which means that "every time an analysis is performed, they must start from scratch," Flores explains. For example, one company might perform a diagnostic analysis of the user´s risk of suffering from a specific type of hereditary cancer, while another might be specialized in detecting the risk of Alzheimer's. If the user wishes to contract both services, they would need to send two samples of their genetic material which will be subjected to two sequencings, each with their associated costs despite the fact that the base data is the same.
Made of Genes, in addition to offering their own sequencing services, stores all of the sequencing data and the information is only accessible by the user and those services which the user has authorized. If in future the user decides to submit their DNA for another test, it is not necessary to sequence their genome again. "Other companies complement their business model by selling their data to big data studies performed by research institutions or pharmaceutical companies, but Made of Genes puts data security first," Flores affirms. Made of Genes compliments their business model with the participation of third party analysis providers. Through its platform, any company or medical professional can register to offer its services to Made of Genes´ users, who can select from a catalogue of available analyses at will.
"Made of Genes is decades ahead of what will probably be a future demand for personalized medicine," according to the director of project coordination at Zeltia and jury member for the Innovators Under 25 Spain 2016 awards, Carmen Eibe.
Discover all of the winning projects from Innovators Under 35 Spain 2016.