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Below is our recent interview with Sanggoo Kang, the Founder & CEO at MedySapiens:
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to MedySapiens?
A: MedySapiens, Inc. is integrating Data Sciences into Genomics-centered biomedical field in order to accomplish Precision Medicine for humanity. We look to transform the medical field by converging bioinformatics and artificial intelligence through big data and other data science related applications. We help hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and other healthcare service providers offer better healthcare products/services through customization of each patient or individual. For example, our clients include Asan Medical Center and Seoul National University Hospital, both ranked as top-class hospitals in Korea. We would like to expand our services into other continents, starting from the US market in 2019.
Q: Can you give us insights into your solutions?
A: Let me show you two examples.
First is our bioinformatics solution for pediatric genetic disease analysis based on NGS (Next Generation Sequencing). We are analyzing genetic variants of epilepsy, NMD (Neuromuscular disease), DMD (Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy), family diabetes, and more. Previously, physicians have been diagnosing after manually investigating a limited number of popularly known variants using excel spreadsheet, for example. However, MedySapiens’ bioinformatics solution automatically lists all variants with one click after comparing against public DBs such as ExAC, 1000genome, Polyphen, etc. The same pipeline is used in the Pharmacogenomics solution, which tells you what kind of medicine works best for you based on your DNA type. To illustrate, for those in need of painkillers, our system will recommend Tylenol or Advil, whichever is most optimized for your DNA. The next project we have is the somatic analysis solution, which works mostly with cancer panels. Cancer has and will always be a problem for our society, but we believe our somatic solution will substantially alleviate the problem.
Picture 1. Pediatric Genetic Disease Analysis Solution
Second is our Visual Intelligence solution based on deep learning. It detects cardiovascular stenosis and recommends surgery method of PCI (Percutaneous Coronary Intervention, a.k.a. stent) vs. CABG (Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting, a.k.a. bypass) based on the syntax score (a unique tool to score complexity of coronary artery disease). This developed core engine could be modified into many other applications. One example is our periorbital wrinkle grading system, which classifies skin quality from 0 to 9 (larger numbers denote deeper and longer wrinkles). Moreover, this system could also be used to quantify the quality of functional cosmetics.
Picture 2. Cardiovascular Angiography work flow
Q: Why is now the time for a technology solution like MedySapiens?
A: There are a number of Data Science companies and as many, if not more, Bio players out there. However, as far as I have seen so far, there is no company aiming at the True harmony among Bio, ICT and AI like MedySapiens. In other words, we are unique. All of our employees have bio background and they have been intensively trained with Artificial Intelligence in our company. These days, the term of “4th industrial revolution” is frequently quoted although I am not a big fan of this word so much. At the very center of 4th industrial revolution, Bio and Data Science co-exists. Formerly, the biomedical field has evolved as a standalone relatively against other industries. But not anymore… Bio is developing into a prospective interdisciplinary field, through collaboration and combination with other industrial powerhouses. Ultimately, we are on top-end of this endeavor.
Picture 3. MedySapiens’ Mission
Q: What’s the best thing about MedySapiens that people might not know about?
A: This question intersects a lot with the previous one. We have a top-notch Artificial Intelligence guru, a bioinformatics master who also knows NGS and deep learning altogether, a protein folding expert who can explain biochemical structures with physical entropy theory, a biology Ph.D. with cancer and genomics focus and many more professionals. Inter-company meetings between various industries are taking place every single minute inside MedySapiens.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: We have databases for human genomes, rare-disease patients’ sequencing data, pharmacogenomics resources, and coronary artery patients’ angiography with cardiologists’ professional annotations; moreover, our indices are growing every single day. To supplement our progress, we have the best software developers who can program codes to operate the aforementioned DBs. In the future, we seek to extrapolate ours into drug discovery technology in order to diminish time and cost required in the pharmaceutical R&D process, such as repurposing existing drugs and optimizing clinical trials.
Additionally, our disease/sequencing database could be sold to big pharmas after slight modification as could be witnessed in the 23andMe case. Accurate pediatric rare-disease variants extracted from infant patients’ sequencing data gradually change perception of rare diseases. Today, only 25~30% of pediatric rare disease variants are known. However, these uncertain variants are being discovered by companies like us. Overall, MedySapiens’ technology cures more infants from these rare genetic diseases so that we can facilitate stronger generations of mankind.