The DNA Company Buys AI-Driven Pain App for $30M, Forms New Venture

Senior holding smartphone, using fitness app

Toronto-based functional genomics entity The DNA Company announced it bought for $30 million My Pain Sensei (MPS), a digital therapeutics pain management app that leverages artificial intelligence (AI), and via the acquisition has formed a new company named My Next Health.

The acquired MPS platform—developed via an engagement with IBM—combines big data and genomic insights with conversational AI and tracking tools. It can access more than 60 million electronic medical records and data from in excess 32 billion claims to allow individuals and physicians to better understand identifiable symptoms, diagnoses, and chronic pain treatment efficacy, and also other chronic conditions.

The new company will use the combined expertise in functional genomics and digital therapeutics to develop health apps that leverage genomics to offer a precision medicine approach to individual health management. The intention is to develop a range of health apps with pain management and COVID-19 the first targets.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed how a novel virus can upend the world’s healthcare system at a moment’s notice,” said Kashif Khan, CEO of My Next Health in a press release. “But, advances in functional genomics may allow us to better understand the underlying biological weaknesses that this novel virus exploits so that we can leverage existing treatment protocols to improve patient outcomes and reduce load on the healthcare system. The acquisition of MPS will help us tackle these and other problems.”

According to information release by My Next Health in conjunction with the purchase of MPS, the planned COVID-19 application will leverage known COVID-19 risk factors via analysis of a person’s genetic pathways for inflammatory response, insulin sensitivity and other genomic markers, to determine a risk level. Based on this assessment, users of the app gain access to recommendations for how to lower their risk using self-tracking tools, information which can also be share with clinicians.

Due to the pressing need for the public to have access to these tools in the midst of the pandemic, My Next Health said it would make a free online version of the app available to the public May 15, which will include the conversational AI and intervention recommendations.

The company said it would continue development efforts over the next few months and has targeted a summer release of a completed tool that is targeted for use by health entities and governments for management of the disease outbreak.

Prior to the formation of the My Next Health, the DNA company provided individual functional genomics reports to individuals, as well as male and female hormone reports. These reports were intended to help individuals better understand how their genetic makeup and their environment influence how they feel, their risk factors for disease, and to provide guidance on health and nutrition based on these findings.

As My Next Health, the company plans to expand these capabilities via targeted health apps that leverage AI to help people self-manage their health and wellness, and to be able to share this information with their doctors.

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