The Indian startup ecosystem is on a high growth path, but look closely and you’ll find barely a handful of ventures dedicated towards cutting-edge research, especially in the realm of healthcare. Bengaluru-based Clevergene stands out amongst the crowd with its promising research-oriented work. It is a DeepTech company offering genomics services for contract research and genetic diagnostics.
“We eat-sleep-talk-repeat genes. Seriously,” says the company’s co-founder & CEO, Tony Jose. “Work basically revolves around the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) that harbours the genetic code of life. Even the slightest of changes in the DNA sequence (mutation) can adversely affect or sometime even benefit an organism.” A genomics scientist turned entrepreneur with more than a decade of experience in high throughput genomics, Jose says, “We are dedicated to helping humanity in decrypting the most complex genetic codes to enable early detection of genetic disorders, facilitate personalised therapy and development of higher yielding crops or farm animals.”
Through its high-end laboratory housing next-gen sequencers and high-performance computing infrastructure, Clevergene claims to churn out life-impacting outcomes. It analyses the genetic code of organisms like plants, bacteria, viruses, insects, humans and other animals, to hunt for patterns that offer insights to improve the quality of life on this planet.
“Clevergene supports the initiatives of the scientific community of research programmes on chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, etc.,” says Jose. It also provides in-depth and impactful DNA diagnostics to doctors, enabling them to take critical medical decisions regarding their patients. “We collaborate with seminal scientific groups in India and abroad on a contract research outsourcing model to identify DNA mutations associated with diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardio vascular disorders, and several paediatric genetic disorders in a bid to develop genetic markers for early screening, diagnosis and personalised treatment,” he adds.
Clevergene empowers its partners by catalysing the speedy discovery and development of these markers through its discovery genomics vertical that combines high-throughput DNA sequencing and AI-driven Big Data analytics. At the peak of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, The Gene Lab (Clevergene’s genetic diagnostics lab) deployed automated RNA extraction and high-throughput RT-PCR to deliver upto 3,000 tests in a single day.
Its clientele includes scientific groups from national research institutions, medical colleges, private clinical research organisations and biopharma companies, says Jose. Among its Indian clients are Indian Institute of Sciences (Bengaluru), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (Delhi), Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (Trivandrum), National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (Karnal), Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (Chandigarh), PD Hinduja Hospital (Mumbai). Clevergene also has in its kitty various international projects from government-funded research institutes and private biotech firms from the UK, Netherlands, and the US. “We also have clients from reputed global institutions such as Oxford University (UK), Vanderbilt University (USA), etc,” says Jose.
The startup is poised to close a $10 million seed-funding round to be utilised for advancing the discovery genomics and The Gene Lab verticals, said Jose.