How ‘Gene Box’ earned the tag of India’s first ever one-stop holistic health platformShruthi Mohan
In this fast-paced world, where most of our health concerns are taking a back seat with career and ambitions topping the chart, we are always on the lookout for a one-stop solution to our problems – that one thing that caters to different health issues and enables us with realistic solutions.
Gene Box is India’s first holistic health platform that provides cost-effective nutrition and health care solutions and services based on wide-ranging genetic analytics. The system requires the user to send a saliva sample in a special kit that Gene Box sends and collects from their respective households; a series of core tests is then performed to determine the person’s genetic constitution.
The DNA of Genebox
Genebox is the brainchild of a duo whose friendship dates back 17 years. Pranav Anam and Shiraz Siddique first met in 1999, a random talk after these many years has flourished into India’s first holistic health platform.
Both Shiraz and Pranav are in their early thirties and based out of Mumbai. With a past that has been nothing short of a roller-costar ride, today they have made an innovative impact in healthcare. A leukemia survivor, Shiraz is the CEO & Founder of Virtus Wellness. Despite having endured as many as four protocols of chemotherapy and radiation followed by a high-risk haplo-identical bone marrow transplant, Shiraz is preparing to compete in one of the most extreme endurance events – the Ironman Triathlon. Pranav is a qualified geneticist with a Bachelor of Science in Genetics. A recipient of a scholarship from the University of Newcastle, he is an industry veteran with more than a decade of experience.
The company was launched in September 2015. When asked about the quirky name of the company, Pranav says,
The Gene Box essentially unboxes the mystery of your DNA. The human body is made of several trillions cells and thousands of genes. It often plays an important role in overall health too. As a result, genetic research plays an important role in detection, prevention, and/or treatment of diseases, which are caused by genetic abnormalities and mutations
Converting its identity to its strength
The Gene Box takes into account the key difference of one’s life stages and progressively evolves recommendations for the body/health. The Gene Box enables a collaborative, tailored, and accurate plan for the body’s nutrition and fitness needs taking into consideration their current health. In future, it will also evolve and help customers select the right medicines and dosage based on the efficiency of their metabolism.
Genebox studies the person’s food and fitness specifics, thereby arriving at tailor-made recommendations that are free of genetic conclusions. They provide advice and suggestions on lifestyles diseases the consumer may be genetically prone to and how to keep them at bay. The system has adopted a consumer-centric delivery model, where testing is only a means to an end.
When asked what the future beholds for genetic technology, Shiraz says,
Genetics technology is a relatively nascent but rapidly evolving field. In the near future, it’s inevitable that most individuals in one way or another would have experienced some level of genetic assessment. The genetic testing market, rapidly moving from a service-driven model to product-driven model, is expected to touch $ 2.2 billion by 2017. The US represents the largest market for genetic testing worldwide led by the growing importance of prognostic and predictive screening. Running parallel to the ‘provider market’, genetic counselling services are on the rise
Genebox is essentially a platform that offers nutrition, fitness, and genetics as a complete package. Each of their tests cost around Rs 25,000. The company is currently bootstrapped with an investment of about $100,000 and outsources most of the key departments; currently there are almost 20 people working with the firm.
The Indian population is fast moving towards fitness and overall well-being as a means to de-stress from hectic work pressure and combat unhealthy eating habits and sedentary lifestyles. The company is looking at rigorous growth, comparing the wellness market in India, which is estimated to be around Rs 1 trillion. Though the market has competitors like Mapmygenome and Gene Supports, the company is marching towards a bigger goal.
Currently, the analysis and recommendations of most players in the nutrition and fitness industry are symptomatic in nature, which is solely focused on physical attributes like the individual’s body type and subjective interpretations of food and fitness habits and tendencies. But, Genebox does exactly the reverse – it studies the person’s food and fitness specifics in the guiding light of his/her genetic makeup, thereby arriving at tailor-made recommendations that are free of generic conclusions or convenient conjectures. It adopts a consumer-centric delivery model, where testing is only a means to an end. We explore and exploit the test results to deliver the desired health results to the end consumer.
Genetic technology is commonly available in two forms – Array Based and Sequencing Test. The latter has many recipients including Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie, who learnt about her high tendency for cancer, and took a decision of undergoing a mastectomy based on genetic profiling.
The genetic testing market, rapidly moving from a service-driven model to a product-driven model, is expected to touch $2.2 billion by 2017. Considering the ongoing process of rapid evolution in the healthcare industry, the plug and play option of Genebox is a huge value add.