Health startup of­fers DNA-based fit­ness and nu­tri­tion

The Hamilton Spectator - - BUSINESS - A reg­u­lar fea­ture from Hamilton’s In­no­va­tion Fac­tory.

IT’S BEACH SEA­SON: the time of year when many pur­sue the ideal “beach body.”

How­ever, with obe­sity rates ris­ing glob­ally, it has be­come more im­por­tant than ever to en­cour­age healthy liv­ing year-round. Onethird of the world’s pop­u­la­tion is obese or over­weight, cost­ing bil­lions in health care dol­lars each year. Preven­tive mea­sures, like diet and ex­er­cise plans, are of­ten touted as ef­fec­tive ways to ad­dress this global epi­demic — but how do you know which plan is right for you?

Gene Blueprint hopes to ad­dress this prob­lem with their per­son­al­ized ge­netic fit­ness and nu­tri­tion pro­grams. Ge­net­ics play a role in how health and well­ness ini­tia­tives af­fect the body. Us­ing patented gene scores and a so­phis­ti­cated al­go­rithm, Gene Blueprint com­pares a client’s ge­net­ics to genome-wide data. This en­ables the team to cre­ate highly per­son­al­ized plans.

“Our al­go­rithms in­te­grate in­for­ma­tion from hun­dreds of thou­sands of vari­ants,” ex­plains pres­i­dent and co-founder Paul Mer­cante. “This helps us make ev­i­dence-based rec­om­men­da­tions on the most ef­fec­tive nu­tri­tion and ex­er­cise strate­gies.”

Hu­mans are 99.5 per cent ge­net­i­cally sim­i­lar to one an­other, but mil­lions of ge­netic vari­ants lie in the re­main­ing half per­cent­age. This per­cent­age re­veals ev­ery­thing from eye colour to phys­i­cal en­durance. Gene Blueprint’s pro­pri­etary method, pow­ered by ma­chine learn­ing, com­putes ge­netic scores with as­tound­ing ac­cu­racy. Af­ter clients com­plete a DNA col­lec­tion kit, de­tailed fit­ness and nu­tri­tion plans are cus­tom­ized and shared along with the com­plete ge­netic re­sults.

The Gene Blueprint kit is an ex­am­ple of “com­mer­cial ge­net­ics.” More com­pa­nies are en­ter­ing this mar­ket with cut­ting-edge con­sumer prod­ucts that use ge­netic in­for­ma­tion to im­prove daily life.

“Us­ing the power of science and ge­netic data, we are com­mit­ted to mak­ing healthy liv­ing achiev­able. Our clients have shared that our per­son­al­ized plans keep them mo­ti­vated and en­gaged,” says Mer­cante.

Ul­ti­mately, the team wants to make a big im­pact.

“We hope our preven­tive health care mea­sures will re­duce the bur­den on health care sys­tems lo­cally and glob­ally,” he says.

The team also sees value in Hamilton, and wants to po­si­tion the city as a place to in­no­vate in com­mer­cial ge­net­ics. To date, they’ve had im­pres­sive trac­tion in the health care space, par­tic­i­pat­ing in high pro­file ini­tia­tives like Apps for Health and the new Hamilton Health Sciences In­no­va­tion Ex­change.

The Gene Blueprint “Get Lean” Kit is avail­able for pur­chase through

Gene Blueprint pres­i­dent and co-founder, Paul Mer­cante.

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