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Phenomix and Mayo Clinic enter licensing deal for obesity phenotype blood test

Wed, 05/05/2021 - 09:35
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Phenomix Sciences has signed an exclusive technology licensing agreement with Mayo Clinic for a novel blood test that accurately predicts obesity phenotypes. The multi-level “omics” MyPhenome test leverages technology developed at Mayo Clinic to analyse genomics, metabolomics and hormone levels. Its AI-driven algorithmic solution identifies four specific obesity phenotypes to give doctors the ability to prescribe more precise anti-obesity treatments. With the finalization of the CLIA lab underway, Phenomix anticipates launching the MyPhenome test before the end of 2021.

There is a growing body of evidence that obesity is not a single disease with a single treatment type, but a constellation of diseases. Obesity has its roots in DNA, but there is also a complicated web connecting obesity to age, race, and gender, as well as education and socioeconomic status. Understanding a person’s phenotype - the combination of genes with environment - can help pinpoint what is driving weight gain or limiting weight loss.

Phenomix’s founders, Drs. Andres Acosta and Michael Camilleri, led a team of researchers who recently published the results of a pragmatic clinical study in patients with obesity. The paper, ‘Selection of Antiobesity Medications Based on Phenotypes Enhances Weight Loss: A Pragmatic Trial in an Obesity Clinic’, published in the journal Obesity, reported that knowing a patient’s obesity phenotype led to almost twice the weight loss after twelve months of treatment.

The authors concluded: “Biological and behavioral phenotypes elucidate human obesity heterogeneity and can be targeted pharmacologically to enhance weight loss.”

These results improve understanding of which obesity treatment - whether drugs, devices or surgery - is best suited for each unique patient.

“There is simply no more pressing challenge facing healthcare providers today than the treatment of obesity, as it is an underlying condition of so many physical and mental health complications,” said Phenomix CEO, Mark Bagnall. “But until now, obesity treatment has centred around ineffective ‘one-size-fits-all’ therapies. Phenomix founders have invested decades of research to discover a new way to classify obesity using each patient’s unique phenotype, resulting in precision treatment.”

Requiring only a single blood sample, Phenomix’s MyPhenome test combines phenotype-driven multi-omics technology with rigorous analysis of clinical data using sophisticated AI tools. It measures DNA as well as certain metabolites and hormones related to obesity. Armed with the data-driven intelligence provided by Phenomix, physicians can accurately diagnose the patient’s unique phenotype early in the care cycle and prescribe a more appropriate, personalized treatment.

With this disruptive approach, Phenomix is able to accurately classify a patient’s unique biomarkers into one of four primary phenotypes - or subsets - of obesity which account for over 90% of patients with obesity:

  • Hungry Brain: defect of satiation (the brain not knowing when to stop eating)
  • Hungry Gut: defect of satiety (eating in between meals to satisfy hunger)
  • Emotional Hunger: emotional reward from eating (eating in response to negative or positive emotions)
  • Slow Burn: defect in energy expenditure (slow basal metabolic rate and low overall activity level)

“The ability to classify the unique pathophysiological phenotype of patients represents an exciting leap forward in precision interventions applied to obesity treatment with the possibility for improved weight-loss outcomes,” said Dr Ken Fujioka, director of the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center at Scripps Clinic in San Diego and an expert on the role of weight control and diabetes. “I look forward to the release of the MyPhenome blood test later this year.”