MedGenome Labs, a genetic diagnostic company, has started offering direct-to-consumer (D2C) preventive wellness products, including two tests, and estimates a healthy return from it in the mid- and long-term.
Vedam Ramprasad, CEO of MedGenome Labs, told businessline that the $50 million company will continue to grow at 50 per cent year-over-year in the following two years in light of the introduction of new tests, inorganic expansion, and growth from its D2C segment.
“We recently entered the D2C space and are currently offering Genessense, which at present provides two tests— Kardiogen (to assess risk of heart diseases) and Curegen (to assess response to more than 45 drugs) — to consumers at the comfort of their doorstep. Going forward, we intend to add more tests to this category.”
He noted that the substantial body of scientific evidence supporting this category encouraged the company to enter it, and with the right regulatory framework and awareness, it has potential to grow further.
At present, it has two revenue streams: clinical diagnostics and research services.
MedGenome currently has a genetic diagnostic portfolio of more than 1,300 tests in India, covering major areas of genetic applications.
“We have test portfolios for five verticals — CLARIA (reproductive genetics), ACTIA (inherited disease genetics), PRIMA (cancer genetics), MICRA (infectious disease genetics), and the consumer wellness segment that offers direct-to-consumer (D2C) preventive wellness products.”
The company says that since its brand positioning is based on scientific evidence from population studies, it invests a significant amount in conducting large population studies on different ethnicities.
“So far, we have invested about $4–5 million in R&D (across the entire portfolio) and have dedicated teams for building platforms and developing assays customised for the Indian population,” he noted.
The company intends to increase the accessibility and affordability of genomics in the country and other emerging markets. For this, it plans to focus on deeper penetration, market consolidation, new product development and bioinformatics solutions for remote diagnostic labs.
“In addition to the growth in our D2C segment, we see a huge potential in the rare disease segment, as not even 2 percent to 5 per cent of rare disease patients have been tested. Moreover, we are evaluating various options for inorganic expansion in the country and will announce a couple of acquisitions in the next two to three months.”
Also, he added, “We are coming up with some new disruptive tests for segments such as Prima (cancer detection) and plan to expand it in markets like the United States. We are also looking to expand internationally with a focus on the developing nations such as Africa, Eastern Europe, some parts of MENA, the Middle East and Latin America.”
In addition to the regulatory challenges, the diagnostic sector in general lacks a framework.
“The framework has to be business-friendly, keeping in mind data privacy and security. In these areas, we are looking to get support from the government, academic institutions, donors and others. It has to be driven, protected and well-regulated. It should not be based on the trial-and-error method, if something clinical comes up, there should be proper guidelines,” he explained.