AMA unit Health2047 spins out obesity testing startup to accelerate personalized medicine

Phenomix Sciences' blood-based test uses phenotype-driven multi-omics technology to predict responses to obesity interventions the Food and Drug Administration has approved. (vadimguzhva/GettyImages)

The American Medical Association innovation subsidiary Health2047 has spun off a company that uses personalized medicine to fight obesity.

Phenomix Sciences is a phenotype testing company that carries out the AMA’s mission to confront chronic diseases such as obesity.

Phenomix uses a blood test called MyPhenome that it has licensed from the Mayo Clinic to allow doctors to prescribe individualized therapies. MyPhenome measures DNA as well as a person’s metabolites and hormones. These biomarkers make up a person’s phenotype, according to Phenomix.

A 2020 Columbia University study found that 60% of people who were extremely obese were more likely to require ventilation or pass away from COVID-19. Overall, 42% of American adults live with obesity, according to a report by Trust for America’s Health, which also incorporated data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A multi-omics test and personalized medicine

The company’s blood-based test uses phenotype-driven multi-omics technology to predict responses to obesity interventions that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved. A multi-omics test is important because testing for obesity involves multiple factors, including genetics, metabolomics and environmental aspects, according to Phenomix CEO Mark Bagnall.

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“Properly identifying obesity phenotypes requires more sophisticated testing than a simple genetic or DNA test,” Bagnall told Fierce Healthcare.

In 2018, the AMA announced a $27.2 million investment in Health2047. At the time, Health2047 planned to use the funds to commercialize its products and develop the company around chronic disease reduction, productivity and value-based care. Now Phenomix will commercialize its AI-powered multi-omics biomarker. according to the company’s co-founder and physician-scientist Andres Acosta.

“This technology could help more than a billion people in the world currently struggling with excess weight,” Acosta told Fierce Healthcare. “Thus, it was essential to spin out this technology to accelerate its commercialization and help overweight people and those with obesity.”

Because patients respond differently to obesity treatment, the Phenomix founders turned to AI to personalize this treatment. AI can personalize a multi-omics obesity test and analyze single-nucleotide polymorphisms, metabolites and hormones that correspond with a certain obesity phenotype, according to Bagnall.

AI can help identify a specific obesity phenotype so patients can receive the right treatment.

“[We] demonstrated in several clinical studies that knowing a patient’s phenotype doubles the likelihood of weight loss and doubles the amount of weight lost,” Bagnall said.  

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Since it was launched in 2016, Health2047 has spun out several other companies, including First Mile Care, a company that created a platform to reverse prediabetes, and Akiri, a secure network-as-a-service company that facilitates health data sharing in real-time.

Another company that Health2047 launched, Zing Health, aids doctors and communities in coordinating care for chronically underserved populations. Meanwhile, Medcurio enables healthcare organizations to gain value from healthcare data and protects data privacy.

A 2019 survey of healthcare executives by KLAS Research and the Center for Connected Medicine (CCM) revealed that healthcare organizations have been slow to adopt precision medicine, which focuses on precise treatment for groups. CIOs interviewed for the report cited limited funding and a lack of reimbursement from payers as factors holding back precision medicine.

Bagnall says the work in personalized medicine for people with obesity will lead to treatments for other chronic diseases. AI and multi-omic tests can make this possible.

“In chronic disease, where environmental factors play a large part, the analysis of the underlying condition is more complex, thus requiring new tools like AI and multi-omics,” he said. ”As Phenomix’s approach to personalized medicine improves outcomes for patients with obesity, we expect these tools to be used in the treatment of other chronic diseases.”