Biolytica CEO on the importance of using combined health data and AI in longevity medicine to enable personalized and preventative health to thrive.
Swiss start-up Biolytica has launched a longevity health data platform, giving health and longevity professionals a tool to help them optimize personalized and preventative health plans for clients and patients. The Biolytica NEXUS platform brings together data from multiple sources – genomics, pharmacogenomics, epigenetics, biomarkers, wearables, lifestyle, nutrition and many more – using AI analytics to deliver unique insights on service life and longevity.
Longevity.Technology: Biolytica is one of the first companies to emerge from the Swiss longevity business builder Maxim. With a focus on data, it addresses some of the biggest questions facing the field – everyone is unique, so what should each of us, in particular, be doing to improve our health? How do you customize longevity and preventative health? We caught up with Biolytica CEO Dr. Rob Konrad to learn more about the company’s approach.
The guiding principle at the heart of Biolytica is the unification and analysis of the growing amounts of health data that are now collected across a wide range of health fields.
“We have so much data at our disposal: genomics and pharmacogenomics; epigenetics; all the labs, the biomarkers, the microbiota,” Konrad explains. “We have new aging clocks, data from wearable devices that everyone carries, personal historical health data and everything else. All that should allow us to provide more personalized preventive health care and recommend interventions related to longevity.
Taking health data out of silos
However, all of this excellent data is rarely put together in a way that it can be easily used by clinicians for the benefit of their patients and clients.
“Health data is typically locked in silos,” Konrad explains. “And it’s hard to pull that data out of the silos and combine it in a useful way. So that’s what we do at Biolytica – we’ve built our NEXUS platform, which breaks down those silos and brings all of that data together in a single, unified platform. »
Rather than trying to offer the platform and its analytics directly to consumers, Biolytica is targeting longevity and healthcare professionals. At the beginning at least.
“This is a tool for longevity clinics, treatment centers, or longevity health coaches to help them better understand the data,” Konrad explains. “But going forward, our goal is definitely to give more people access to it.”
While the concept of putting all this data together may seem like a pretty simple idea, Konrad says the reality is far from simple. The first big challenge the company faced was largely technical.
“We first had to create something that was able to ingest, store, process and audit all of these data points,” Konrad explains. “Because health data ranges from highly structured data from labs or genomic tests, which are relatively simple to process, to the nightmarish area where you have your doctor’s notes scribbled in a physical file. We wanted to build something that could really process, correlate, and analyze all of that, regardless of where it came from.
Visualize health data differently
At the heart of the Biolytica NEXUS platform is a person’s dashboard, which provides a unified view of all their different health data points. Data on NEXUS is visualized in a clear and simple manner, with color coding and other visual cues used to identify areas that may need special attention.
“If you see something red then it’s probably something you need to start thinking about, if you’re in the green then you’re probably doing something right,” says Konrad. “It makes it easier to understand what is going on. Our clinical team also helps us to give the platform a level of intelligence. We can use the data, for example, to create simplified aging clocks and health reports. »
What a healthcare professional sees on a patient’s dashboard, however, is fully configurable to their needs.
“If you don’t need genomics, epigenetics, or medical reports, for example, you can just remove those parts,” Konrad says. “The platform is completely flexible. It’s not meant to change the way you work – it’s meant to support you in your work by making sense of the data you have. We want to help clinicians stop looking at printed reports and PDFs, to help them see everything in one place. »
While initially offering a simplified view, any of the areas included in the dashboard can also be expanded to provide access to all available data, allowing clinicians to ‘dive deeper’ into the details. But NEXUS really comes into its own when it starts linking different data points.
“We have many different pathways in our body — cellular pathways, systemic pathways, cardiovascular pathways, etc. — and we have a lot of information about that in our genetic blueprint,” Konrad says. “Not only can we look at these genetic reports in detail, but what you can also see on the dashboard is when there are high-impact genes that need to be looked at and then combined with the information on the current health status which we get from biomarkers and wearables.
Combine key data points
If a person with a genetic predisposition for a certain condition receives relevant data, from a wearable device, epigenetics or a blood test, for example, NEXUS will display this data on the dashboard in the form of a point surrounded by a circle. If both are red, this indicates that a high genetic impact combines with an unfavorable biomarker result.
“Every time you see that ‘target’ you know it’s a genetic predisposition for something combined with a biomarker that tells you things may not be right – the genes are expressing themselves in a way,” says Konrad. “Longevity is about prevention and precision, and we want to help clinicians optimize their patients and clients toward certain endpoints. What are some modifiable risk behaviors you can start working on in your body? There’s a lot going on in our body all the time, and there’s always a lot we can optimize, whether it’s through lifestyle, diet, supplements, or molecules.
Another unique feature of NEXUS is its “correlation view,” which allows clinicians to assess the impact of interventions on longevity.
“You can overlay any biomarker onto any intervention,” Konrad explains. “If you start taking a supplement, you usually want to see a result, whether you want your blood pressure to drop or your lipids to improve. With this tool, you can see everything correlate – you can really start to see if interventions are having the desired impact. »
“One of the criticisms I have for the longevity industry is that people are coming in blind, not following each other, not taking referrals, not thinking about possible negative interactions between drugs and/or supplements. , etc. If we all put all the data together, we can start to see the patterns. We can show what’s working, what’s not working, and how it’s working. I believe what we’re building here is a platform that can help the entire longevity industry better keep up with changes and become more scientifically and medically relevant.
Predictive interventions in the future
To make sure the company got it right, it assembled an experienced development team, drawing on former development and data experts from Novartis, Pfizer and Merck, some of whom have over 25 years of experience. experience in health data management.
“We first worked on how to visualize the data, bring it together, and give it some initial logic,” Konrad explains. “And that brings us to where we are today, which uses aggregated data on the platform, anonymously, to find patterns, create advanced analytics, and create algorithms that can make better predictions about the people’s health trajectory.”
In its current form, the NEXUS platform supports the practice of longevity medicine, providing data that clinicians can analyze and then make informed recommendations and suggestions. But Konrad explains that the future of the platform is much more than that.
“We believe that many health recommendations can and should be automated,” he says. “Because many of the conclusions that these brilliant clinicians draw are essentially a plus one equals something. However, we must ensure that any recommendations we make are strictly based on science and medicine. We believe that with better data analysis, we will get to a point where we can really do good predictive interventions. It will also help many more people gain access to longevity medicine, which is only available to a select few at this point.
While NEXUS is a tool that is developed in the context of longevity, Konrad says it has applications in many different fields.
“We speak to many different vertical markets,” he says. “A cancer center in Switzerland, for example, said that having this detailed view on the data would be amazing because they test people all the time during their chemotherapy treatment and therefore have to look at the labs all the time, so simply visualizing things differently could help them greatly by having everything in one place.