Epigenetic products and services

A major part of the decades-long ongoing scientific research in human biology focuses on delivering direct to consumer products. There is a wide range of those, which vary from consumables to services. Medicines, biomarkers, medical assessments and examinations, are all day-to-day examples of such products. Nevertheless, their development is a long challenging process that normally takes up to a few years. For example, on average, one drug – that is usually selected out of thousands of candidates – takes up to 12 years and 2.6 billion US Dollars to travel from the laboratory bench to the pharmacy cabinet [1].

Besides vital medicines and services that are nowadays considered to be a necessity for our health and survival, there have been a lot of biotechnological advancements that made other products and services available to consumers at hand. Overtime, and at an early stage, the private sector started commercializing them. Additionally, the focus has not only been on delivering personalized medicine, but also on personalized direct to consumer products.

After the human genome project was completed in 2003, and the rise of next-generation sequencing, several companies started offering DNA genetic testing and analysis. Companies like 23andMe and LivingDNA offer customers to get many insights from their DNA [2,3]. Depending on the company, one can provide saliva or a simple swab, and get an analysis in less than two months. Through analysing the DNA variants and epigenetic marks that make every profile unique, these companies provide reports that include genetic and regional ancestry, family DNA matching, traits and even likelihood of developing health conditions [2,3]. The genetic data is analyzed and personalized reports are generated based on scientific and medical research [2].

Even though not many direct-to-consumer epigenetic services are available yet, some are already available and some will be soon. Combining artificial intelligence and epigenetic research for better human health is the mission of Foxo Technologies – a life insurance company powered by molecular biotechnology [4]. Backed up by many scientific findings, epigenetic changes play a major role in individuals’ health, wellness and ageing. Hence, Foxo Technologies focuses on discovering, validating and commercializing epigenetic biomarkers in both blood and saliva [4]. Those epigenetic biomarkers are identified using supervised machine learning, and some of the areas they focus on include diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, alcohol and tobacco consumption, and molecular age [4]. Their mission is to come up with new innovative products and services that aim to enhance consumers’ health, wellness and longevity, and their motto is “life insurance designed to keep you alive” [4]

Another example is EpigenCare, a biotechnology company for personalized skin care based on epigenetic testing [5]. A special kit is used to collect DNA samples from the skin to send it for analysis. The company works on generating an epigenetic profile of the customer’s skin quality through measuring the DNA methylation levels of several genes that are responsible for skin quality factors (e.g. ageing, firmness, moisture and elasticity) [5]. After the skin profile is generated, it is matched algorithmically – by machine learning – to the most optimized skin care products on the market [5]. The matching process takes into account the epigenetic, hazard and absorbance effects of the ingredients on the skin quality indicators, personalizing skin care routines [5].

As we accelerate in the field of epigenetics, we aim to – one day – have our services at EpiQMAx available to individuals. Working on analyzing epigenetic modifications, including histone modifications and DNA methylation, in an automated manner and powered by artificial intelligence is something we aspire to achieve. Through collaborative research, we contribute to developing new epigenetic drugs and biomarkers that pave the way towards personalized medicine. We believe that several epigenetic products and services shall become available to individual consumers, sooner rather than later.

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