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Small Biz Grant Funds AI Repro Health Technology

Glasses, computer screens

(Kevin Ku, Pexels.com)

4 Dec. 2020. A company developing health metrics with artificial intelligence received a grant to better understand polycystic ovary syndrome, an endocrine disorder affecting women. The $155,000 Small Business Innovation Research or SBIR funds were awarded to Onegevity Health in New York from National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, part of National Institutes of Health.

Onegevity Health develops consumer health assessments that combine a range of measurements and variables, with analytics driven by A.I. algorithms. The company’s technology analyzes a person’s multiple “omics”: genomics, proteomics, blood biomarkers, microbiome, metabolic indicators, and others. Onegevity says it then conducts deep-dive analytics with pattern recognition and deep-learning neural networks to reveal health and wellness patterns and anomalies, based on trillions of data points the company says it collects from its customer community.

Onegevity already offers multi-omics assessments for gut health, aging, and athletic performance. The SBIR grant supports creating a new home-based test to better understand polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS, a common endocrine disorder in women of reproductive age. PCOS, according to WomensHealth.gov, affects one in 10 women of child-bearing age, caused by a hormonal imbalance that results in missed or irregular menstrual periods, leading to infertility or fluid-filled cysts in the ovaries.

The Onegevity test will combine genomics, microbiome measures, and metabolic indicators, integrated with individual health record data, to develop a molecular profile of women with PCOS and without. The company says results of the test can help identify better diagnostic biomarkers and new treatment targets. In addition, the company plans a study collecting a range of genomic, microbiome, and metabolic data from blood, urine, and fecal samples from women with PCOS, compared to those without the disorder.

“PCOS is a devastating disorder and patients who suffer from it face many uncertainties and difficulties in managing their symptoms,” says Onegevity CEO Paul Jacobson in a company statement. “This platform will utilize the latest sequencing and analytical technologies, and, for the first time, we will integrate multi-omic data to provide a more comprehensive view of PCOS. This can reveal new insights and offer a more precise approach towards its management.”

Varykina Thackray, a co-investigator on the project, is professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences, at University of California in San Diego. Thackray notes that “the power of ‘omics approaches in providing insight into the pathology of complex diseases, such as PCOS, and recent studies from my lab and others [indicate] that changes in the gut microbiome are associated with PCOS.”

Christopher Mason, professor of computational biomedicine at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, and a co-founder of Onegevity, is the project’s principal investigator. “The exclusive technology will offer unique and personalized insights on reproductive health more broadly for women,” adds Mason.

NIH says it awards more than $1 billion a year in its SBIR and Small Business Technology Transfer programs. SBIR and STTR grants are set-aside from the general NIH research budget for U.S.-owned and operated small businesses to engage in federal research and development that has a strong potential for commercialization.

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