Opportunity AreaHow might we improve data systems for healthcare delivery?
The proposed title of your ideaGenetics testing to accurately predict, diagnose-early and improve the treatment of breast, ovarian and other cancers
Please describe your idea.We do genetic tests that determine the likelihood of getting breast, ovarian and colon cancer, for women by analysing their DNA samples.
What problem does your idea solve in the market?Breast and ovarian cancer, and a number of other cancers common in all adults manifest in patients when it's too late to treat them successfully (late diagnosis) or cheaply (expensive therapy). With our tests, a client can know if they have genes that put them at a 90% risk of them getting these cancers. Once the client knows, they can then take measures to avoid getting the diseases, or to have them diagnosed at the earliest possible time when they are very easy and cheap to treat.
Briefly explain how you identified the need or opportunityWhile working at Imperial Genomics Facility, we routinely carried out genetic analysis for common cancers. This technology was commonplace but having interned at the Uganda Cancer Institute during my clinical practice several years prior, deaths due to late diagnosis and debt-laden patients because of mounting costs of cancer therapy were common. In 2015 and 2016, we carried out two surveys to understand the appetite for a service that predicts the susceptibility of cancer. We estimated a potential market for our services of more than 3000 clients per year. We had the skills, the right networks&collaborations and the market was available – beginning the business was only an obvious option.
Who are the beneficiaries of your solution and how will they benefit?The beneficiaries of our services/solutions are women and men of all ages, income levels and socio-economic statuses. They access low-cost tests to show their likelihood of getting some of the common cancers in Uganda. This way, they will avoid the perils of debilitating illness and save the vast amounts of money spent on cancer therapy. Other perils include prospective parents who want to know if their children will be born with congenital illnesses such as Down's Syndrome
Why are you convinced your solution will solve the problem?Our tests are based on decades of peer-reviewed scientific research and evidence carried out by scientists around the world, and are use in health systems in developed countries such as Gene Adviser (.com), run by an associate of mine Jelena Jansick in Cambridge,UK. Also we have all the necessary expertise, skills, know-how, equipment and international collaborations to deliver our tests in a timely, cost-effective manner to be used in patient-care and treatment.
What other initiatives like yours exist out there? How will you differentiate your solution?There are no commercial genetics testing services offered in Uganda. Our closest competitor is Lancet Laboratories Uganda which just collects clients' samples and ship them overseas where the tests are carried out at unaffordable prices and for prolonged periods of time. For this reason, very few people can afford this option and for those, the long turnaround times result in delays in making treatment decisions which ultimately negatively affects their treatment outcomes. With our solution, the tests are done in Uganda by Ugandans, at an affordable cost ranging from $100 to $400, in the shortest time possible. Additionally, we are in discussions to partner with insurance companies to offer our tests as part of their medical insurance packages. We intend to begin discussions with Ministry of Health officials to devise a way to incorporate these services into the mainstream health systems, policies and guidelines.
What have you done up-to date to test your idea with potential users? What learnings do you have to share?We have tested the feasibility of our solution with patients at the Uganda Cancer Institute. We have established the right price-points for our services, and we've tested various ways of reducing turnaround times of each test. We continue to run surveys among doctors to determine opportunities that we can capitalise on to open other revenue streams for our business. We noticed that often most of our users (patients and doctors alike) do not fully understand the usefulness of genetics tests. We find that we have offer extensive explanations before they understand. We've determined that we might have to generate some print educational&promotional material. The same techniques and technology that we use can be used for other purposes such as determining the most effective medicines for a specific patients. We are currently exploring all those avenues to explore ways to commercialise them.
How will you financially sustain your business?Our clients pay for tests; the fees range from $100 to $400 depending on the test. Our clients include all health-conscious members of the general public. With the right marketing strategies in place, we be able to attract about 3000 clients per year, that is 60 patients per week. With those client targets we'll be aiming to generate revenues of at least $6000 per week. Those revenues will be used to create more points of contact and develop our systems better to further widen our client base.
Please share a link to a 3 minute online video that best describes your idea and teamhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKNs1hnkdiE
Please tell us about each founder and their roles on the team. How do you know your founders and how long have you worked together?Micheal Kanwagi Micheal is bioinformatician with several years of experience in analysing human and pathogen genomic data to identify mutations responsible for/associated with various diseases and other traits. He holds a Master degree in Bionformatics from Birkbeck, University of London and has previously worked at the Imperial College London's Genomics Facility and Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute as a bioinformatician. Other notable positions include being the senior bioinformatician at the Uganda Medical Informatics Centre, the largest dedicated genomics facility in Africa. Edgar Kigozi: Edgar Kigozi is a senior laboratory technologist with extensive experience in handling and processing of biological samples for analysis. One of his fields of specialisation is sample preparation and processing for molecular sequencing.He hold a Bachelor degree in Molecular Biology and a Masters Degree in Clinical Epidemiology, and has worked with Molecular Laboratories Limited.
Please tell us about other team members that are not cofounders.Emmanuel Luyinda Emmanuel Luyinda is a serial entrepreneur with a number of successful business behind him. He's been involved in several sectors including agriculture, transport, among others. We benefit from his business acumen in developing our business.
Which members of your team will attend the program full-time?Micheal Kanwagi Edgar Kigozi Emmanuel Luyinda