Genetics for nutrition: Improving health and sports practice

Project Case |Health & Agrofood |DNActive

Since publication of first human genome sequences in 2001, and the completion of the Human Genome Project Sequence in 2004, many expectation about its consequences have arisen.

Human genome was the first of all vertebrates to be completely sequenced, and in the next years after 2004, thousands of human genomes have been completely sequenced, and many more have been mapped at lower levels of resolution. Although the sequence of the human genome has been nearly completely determined by DNA sequencing, it is not yet fully understood. Most genes have been identified by a combination of high throughput experimental and bioinformatics approaches, yet much work still needs to be done to further elucidate the biological functions of their protein and RNA products.

This data is used worldwide in biomedical science, anthropology, forensics and other branches of science, and there is a widely held expectation that genomic studies will lead to advances in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, and to new insights in many fields of biology, including human evolution.

Among other applications of Genetics, Nutrition is one of the most developed. In this sense, nutrition studies demonstrate so many conflicting results because of people’s different genotypes, which lead to diverse reactions to specific foods. And this difference likely depends, at least in part, on genetic variation.

Genetically, humans are 99.5% the same. Yet, that 0.5% difference matters. After all, it accounts for 30 million letters in the genetic code. And within that 0.5%, there is the SNPs (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms).
When a single nucleotide in the genome is altered, that is a SNP.

SNPs are the most common form of sequence variation in the human genome. More than 470 have been identified on the vitamin D receptor gene alone. SNPs determine human genetic differences – including risk of particular illnesses.

Genes can be influenced by all kinds of things, such as nutrient deficiencies or excesses (especially at crucial developmental stages), dietary components, sunlight and Vitamin D, toxins, bacteria and viruses, exercise and activity, alcohol and other drugs, etc. Therefore, genetic expression is strongly shaped by environment, so, if we know more about our genetic variants, we might be able to adjust our lifestyle or environment in order to prevent some illnesses or become healthier.

Genetic testing can be performed via cheek swab, blood, or other tissue sampling. Any sample that contains human cell nuclei will work, since all cells have the same genes. DNA is extracted from the sample, then amplified, sequenced, and assembled into a readable format for the patient.

Researchers can then analyze single genes, arrays, or the full genome. Once genetically screened, people can then receive their own tailored dietary prescription.

In this context, present project GeneHealth has carried out the development of a personalized nutritional supplementation product to improve health and sports practice, through the transfer of genetic knowledge.

It is an innovative project which intends to give a supplementation to the most optimal and effective measure, thanks to the development of scientific research in the field of Genetics. The product developed consists in the proper selection of nutrients in different formats through the analysis of the genes involved in the different metabolic processes, using a computer algorithm to interpret results.

The company, Advanced Genetics DNActive SL is a bio-sanitary startup in the field of consumer genomics, based on the Granada Health Technology Park, specialized in personalizing services of nutritional itineraries, adapted training and tailored supplementation, using genetics of patients and providing them in distance. Field of
application are Sports, Nutrition and Anti-aging.

Company has already developed genetic solutions for Sports and Nutrition and plans to launch services on Cosmetics and Skin Diseases in the mid-term. Indeed, it sells its services via e-commerce since May 2016, confirming a growing trend of sales and profits. Moreover, there is a very important common denominator in all of its services: how human body processes different nutrients that eats, since they are the basis of many metabolic and biochemical processes that take place in the body, being, at the end of the day, responsible of its quality life and health.

Participation in ACTTiVAte has resulted highly important since it has helped in several areas. Firstly, to be able to get a business model 100% validated and a marketed product. Secondly, facilitating geographical diversification of suppliers, with shorter response times, lower costs and at the end of the day greater strength of negotiation; finally, thanks to coaching dynamics held in ACTTiVAte, project reached economies of scale via opening of new channels and new international markets, diversification of new products, deduction of supply costs and generation of multiple complementary services. Also, they have got:

• 250,000 from NEOTEC-Neotec Capital Riesgo.
• The seal of innovative company.
• Raised an additional 343.500 Euros in third-party financing, including the 15k angels.
• Taking advantage of the new capital inflow (40.000 Enisa + 200.000 Autonomous Government of Andalusia)
• The entry of new capital to DNActive is being negotiated with other investors.
• DNActive’s workforce has increased.
• New cosmetic product launched on the market.
• The commercialization of DNActive’s nutraceutical product has begun.

Expectations from project are very high. Opportunity timing is clear, and project may take advantage from scientific advances on Genetics and its use in several areas.