The Silicon Review
The company empowers patients to control their own data.
BioAro is a biotechnology company specializing in the field of genomics, artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies. The company is committed to improving the speed, access and precision of healthcare by bridging the gap between individuals, Physicians, and researchers.
BioAro is headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, and is looking to expand operations globally.
The Silicon Review reached out to Dr. Anmol Kapoor, founder and CEO of BioAro, and here’s what he had to say.
Q. Why was BioAro Inc born? What Pain Points did you set out to solve?
BioAro was established to make genomics testing affordable and accessible for everyone, from targeted panels, whole genome/exome sequencing, pharmacogenomic analysis or various types of microbiome testing, and provide consultations to help people understand their reports. BioAro can do any kind of DNA sequencing and provide clinical care with follow-ups. We have physicians, counselors, and dietitians that can help people make informed precision medicine decisions. BioAro does not sell patients data and respects their privacy.
Q. How does BioAro increase the speed and precision of healthcare?
In genomics, there are mainly three challenges: upstream challenges, processing challenges, and downstream challenges. The problems that people have encountered with genomic testing must be divided. Many companies are addressing the upstream challenge by deploying robotic systems and automating some processes. With the manufacture of new machines by a few companies, processing time and speed have been reduced. However, the downstream process is time-consuming and laborious, requiring long hours of manual work to analyze the entire genome and other sequencing data. That is where we believe we have a competitive advantage, and it is an area in which we are investing heavily to automate, using machine learning for analysis, discovery of the genome, and pharmaceuticals.
We help create reports faster, analyze the meaning of new genes and how they transcribe, and how metabolomics or metabolites work, or how certain medications work based on their genes. This way, the patient can make an informed decision about when and if they should take medication prescribed by doctors rather than relying on a monogram, which is given when they buy a prescription from a pharmacy. Pharmacogenomic analysis takes out “hit and trial” approach and helps provide guidance on benefits vs. possible side effects.
At the moment, our focus at BioAro is on automating and improving processes on the downstream side using machine learning.
Q. How does BioAro help keep the ownership and autonomy of the individual intact?
We do not sell people's data, unlike many other companies in this space. People's privacy is important to us, and we protect their personal information. To store a person's personalized DNA, whole genome data, and other private information, we are planning to deploy private Blockchain technologies. We can re-analyze their data whenever the clients incorporate it into our patent pending PanOmics software for analysis.
BioAro is developing PanOmics, our proprietary analyzing software, which will be integrated with Blockchain technology. Powered by machine learning, PanOmics will ensure that data is transferred smoothly from a storage space to an analyzing space, and the data can be returned to the storage space—all under the control of the person who owns the data. We will be able to provide this control to the person in this manner and build trust as a result. Our job is to analyze the data, educate people, and help them discover data about their own health and the health of their families—through their DNA. If someone wants to monetize their data or donate to academic centers for research, by using secure Blockchain technologies, BioAro would be able to help facilitate this process for them.
People will be able to donate their data, sell their data, or rent their data to companies, educational institutions, and academic centers using private Blockchain technologies. Put simply, data is controlled by people, not by BioAro. This distinguishes BioAro from other companies in our industry. BioAro believes in full disclosure, and no information should be hidden from the clients.
Q. When it comes to DNA and storing data, technology and software plays a crucial role. What is the one technology that you use to set your company apart from the competition?
Machine learning empowered genomic analysis sets us apart from our competitors. Patent pending PanOmics software would allow us to seamlessly store data on servers using Blockchain technologies, and allow analysis as needed upon client’s request. Furthermore, let me tell you that DNA contains over 20,000 genes, and the meaning of the genes influences how genes interact throughout a person's lifespan. Sometimes, patients do not want to know everything, which is okay, and we help them provide guidance on demand. We have over 300 panels to choose from, and we can customize panels upon request without any delay. Our technology would allow us to discover new drugs or help re-purpose old drugs for new indications in real time. The research and development process will be faster and would allow deployment of precision medicine to the bedside. We want to bring the power of pharmacogenomics into physicians’ hands, and it should be as easy as ordering blood tests or MRI scans.
We want to democratize genetic testing by putting control in the hands of patients who are being tested, facilitating their analysis at a faster pace, and assisting them in discovering and holding their hand in this journey, as they may develop new diseases.
Q. What can you tell us about PanOmics? How does it benefit your clients?
As previously stated, PanOmics is a patent-pending technology developed by BioAro that allows analysis of large data sets at a faster rate and can also integrate seamlessly with our private Blockchain network for data storage. PanOmics will be one software that handles all the solutions, challenges, and issues that people face today. In essence, PanOmics will elucidate the forementioned during reporting, variant calling, and facilitate discovery of genomics at a faster pace.
Furthermore, PanOmics would allow us to analyze the whole genome, exome, as well as metabolomics, transcriptomics, and microbiome data with the simple click of a button. There will not be any need for writing codes or scripts during data analysis.
Q. Who are your clients? How does your company help them take the first step into DNA-informed treatment and proactive care?
Our clients can be classified into several groups: companies, health institutions, clinics, hospitals, or academic institutions - that have patients and samples. They want to help their patients with personalized healthcare plans, and precision medicine treatment options. Many of them manage integrative healthcare clinics, private healthcare institutions and research centers. We have been approached by alternative healthcare and mental health centers that are looking to provide cutting-edge services to their clients.
Individuals can also contact BioAro directly to obtain insight on their entire genome, microbiome, and exome that was sequenced.
When our PanOmics software is released, we will be able to help educational institutions, hospitals, and labs that perform genomic testing and want to improve their processes, reduce post-processing costs, and eventually expedite the analysis.
PanOmics will be the world's first software to work in this manner, helping with in-data analysis as well as storage.
Q. What new endeavors is BioAro currently undertaking?
BioAro is currently working to launch targeted panels for cardiac, cancer, and mental health patients. It’s also working to develop rapid cancer tests to help facilitate monitoring and diagnosing re-occurrence of various cancers. The company’s Microbiome division is working on developing solutions in the field of skin, oral, vaginal and gut microbiome. Once PanOmics software is launched, it will help automate post-processing, facilitate new discoveries, as well as interact with Blockchain technology for data storage and exchange.
Furthermore, I would like to point out that genomic files are large files, and large files are difficult to compress. To address this, we developed a patent-pending technology that allows us to compress data without harming it and store large files in a smaller space without corrupting the data. We will be releasing this technology later this year.
We are also excited to expand our sequencing capability in our company. We want people to be able to get their entire genome sequenced as well as the targeted panels at cheaper prices. Moreover, we are looking to expand our processing capabilities, and expand our network globally where people could send their samples from all over the world for analysis and open sequencing labs internationally.
Q. How do you see BioAro changing in the coming years and how do you see yourself creating the change as a CEO and founder?
Discovering a problem is one thing; treating and curing the problem is quite another. We will invest in technologies such as CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) that will allow us to help patients with rare inherited diseases or diseases for which there is no cure. This is one of our company's areas of interest.
However, the first step is to make sequencing affordable and accessible, as well as to assist people in discovering and storing data, and give them control over that data. Then we want to develop new treatments, make discoveries, and improve sequencing technologies.
Q. How user-friendly and affordable is your software?
People can now analyze their entire genome for as cheap as $0.50 per gene. People can order analysis of the entire genome, but there is no need to pay for the entire genome if they only want a portion of it.
Instead of paying for the entire analysis in one-go, people can pick and choose their area of interest. If their area of interest is cancer, our team of scientists has put together a comprehensive list of panels to help them answer their questions. For $2,000, they could get their whole genome downloaded, and request interpretation of 1000 genes of their choice. They could come back later, and for a nominal cost they could ask our team to provide insights on rest of their genes. They could request a pharmacogenomic analysis or ask us to re-analyze genomic data that was downloaded by another lab. We also offer Genetic Monitoring Program, and TRIO analysis for families. Patients can get their liquid biopsy samples processed at a much cheaper price.
BioAro is changing the way analysis is done by allowing people to choose what they want to analyze.
Q. Can you tell us about your team and the values they bring to your company?
Nobody can succeed without a team. It is a group effort that makes a difference. I have a fantastic team of scientists, bioinformaticians, molecular biologists, medical microbiologists, physicians, and software developers working for me.
Moreover, we have a marketing and sales department, and a separate team that is responsible for lead generation, networking, investor relations, and making online education resources available to people. We are also developing several online educational courses to help healthcare providers bring genomic sciences into their everyday clinical practices.
Q. What is your final message to the Silicon Review readers, your current and future clients and partners?
I would encourage everyone to join hands with BioAro and help us flourish, together. We will grow with you and provide answers to any questions you may have. We aspire to hold your hand, help you solve your health complications and, most importantly, support better care for all patients and clients.