As a basic technology in the field of life sciences, genetic testing technology can be used in tumors, non-invasive prenatal testing, agricultural breeding, cardiovascular diseases and other fields. Tumor genetic testing is currently one of the most popular fields in my country, with many related companies. In addition, the recent boom in this field has ushered in a listing boom. Burning Rock Medicine and Genetron Health went to the United States for listing.
In fact, the market potential of cardiovascular genetic testing is greater than that of tumor genetic testing. The number of cardiovascular disease patients in my country is huge, far exceeding that of tumors. The latest national cancer statistics and “China Cardiovascular Disease Report 2018” show that there are about 3.929 million cancer patients in my country, and the number of cardiovascular disease patients in my country is about 290 million.
The market potential of cardiovascular diseases is huge, and unlike the bustling tumor genetic testing market, China has fewer companies involved in cardiovascular genetic testing at this stage. Among them, Novogene relies on a complete product line, an experienced founding team, and a characteristic database. And strong channel capabilities, seized most of the cardiovascular disease market, and became a leader in this field.
The team has deep insights into the cardiovascular field
Cardiovascular diseases are divided into single-gene inherited cardiovascular diseases and complex cardiovascular diseases. Patients with complex cardiovascular diseases account for 90% of the total number of patients. Although the proportion of patients with single-gene inherited cardiovascular diseases is relatively low, their symptoms are more severe due to their early age (onset in youth or even in childhood). The prognosis is worse, with an obvious family history, and the need for genetic testing is more urgent.
At this stage, my country’s single-gene genetic diseases and complex diseases have their own pain points, and genetic testing is a good medicine to solve these pain points.
Different single-gene inherited cardiovascular diseases have different diagnosis and treatment options, but due to the lack of clinical understanding of this type of disease, the clinical heterogeneity of the disease is high, which increases the difficulty of disease diagnosis. Genetic testing successfully solved this difficulty. For complex cardiovascular diseases, genetic testing is also promising. These patients need long-term medication, but the therapeutic effect of the medication varies from person to person, which is closely related to the polymorphism of the drug gene. Patients with different genotypes have different levels of metabolism and absorption of each drug, which ultimately leads to differences in drug treatment effects and side effects. Studies have shown that 50% of hypertension drugs do not have a good effect on blood pressure. Therefore, for this part of patients who take medicine for a long time, the effectiveness of the medicine is more important.
The founding team of Novogene has rich experience in the cardiovascular field. The CEO Wenfeng Li has more than 15 years of sales, marketing and management experience in companies such as Roche and Sanofi. The chief scientist Zhang Shulin is a member of the Laboratory Quality Control Committee of the American College of Genetics and the former Baylor College of Medicine. Deputy Director of the Office. Based on deep insights into the pain points of cardiovascular diagnosis and precise medication, Novogene was founded in 2016, hoping to use the power of genetic testing to benefit 290 million patients with cardiovascular diseases in China.
Core highlights: Rich product line and self-built database
Novogene has a rich product line covering clinical and scientific research. Solutions include single-gene genetic cardiovascular disease diagnosis, precise medication guidance, scientific research services, and cardiovascular disease risk screening.
In response to the difficulty in diagnosing single-gene hereditary cardiovascular diseases, Novogene uses genetic testing technology to determine the patient’s genetic mutations at the molecular level, and perform diagnostic typing to provide a basis for subsequent treatment and intervention. The test items that the company can provide include single-gene hereditary hypertension, cardiomyopathy diagnosis, cardiac ion channel disease, hereditary aortic disease, pulmonary hypertension, etc.
Aiming at the medication problems of patients with complex cardiovascular diseases, Novogene’s precise medication guidance service can accurately determine the patient’s metabolism of each medication, help patients determine the dosage, improve the efficacy, and reduce adverse reactions. Specific testing items include anticoagulant medication guidance, antiplatelet medication guidance, hypertension medication guidance, and hyperglycemia medication guidance.
Li Wenfeng believes that from the perspective of development prospects, genetic testing has broad application prospects in the diagnosis of single-gene hereditary cardiovascular diseases. In the short term, Novogene will continue to focus on the diagnosis of single-gene inherited cardiovascular diseases, supplemented by precise guidance of medication. Deeply cultivate the cardiovascular field and continuously improve the capacity and scope of clinical services.
Regarding the highly anticipated cardiovascular risk screening market, Li Wenfeng said that there are still many problems in this field that need to be solved urgently. “The cardiovascular risk screening products on the market screen for certain sites, and the formation of complex cardiovascular diseases is caused by many factors, and genes are only one of them. It is not enough to judge the cardiovascular risk based on the results of genetic tests. Rigorous.” Novogene does not deny the potential of the market, but it still needs a certain amount of research and accumulation to achieve the purpose of risk prediction.
At the same time, the database plays a vital role in the development of the genetic testing industry. Li Wenfeng said that most domestic gene companies refer to foreign public databases. The biggest drawback of public databases is that the sample size of Asians is small. Novogene has established a cardiovascular gene database by establishing cooperative relationships with more than 200 domestic hospitals, and has accumulated nearly 10,000 single-gene inherited cardiovascular cases. Regarding the mutation sites that have not been reported, the company verified whether the site affects the expression of protein function through experiments, and helped determine the pathogenicity of the site. Through continuous experiments, it gradually accumulated some pathogenic sites unique to Chinese people. And improved the database. At present, the database has become one of the company’s core competitiveness.
Challenges still exist in the industry, but the confidence in development
Li Wenfeng said that there are still several major challenges in the field of cardiovascular genetic testing in my country.
One is the inaccuracy of people’s perception of cardiovascular disease. Everyone’s cognition of cardiovascular diseases is still on chronic diseases, and the degree of attention is not enough, and the impression of cardiovascular diseases is limited to complex cardiovascular diseases, and there is not much knowledge about single-gene inherited cardiovascular diseases. In fact, the incidence of single-gene inherited cardiovascular diseases is not low, and the harm is even greater.
The second is the lack of targeted drugs. At present, 80% of single-gene hereditary cardiovascular diseases lack targeted drugs and can only be intervened through devices and other means. Li Wenfeng believes that the development path of the cardiovascular genetic testing market can refer to tumor genetic testing. With continuous breakthroughs in the research and development of cardiovascular drugs, the field of cardiovascular genetic testing will also usher in a period of rapid development.
The third is the lack of talents. Cardiovascular genetic testing requires experts with interdisciplinary backgrounds in molecular genetics, clinical medicine, and bioinformatics. Talents are the source of promoting the development of the industry. Most of the current clinical medicine lacks a comprehensive background in genetics. Enterprises and universities need to work harder on talent training.
The fourth problem is the profit rate. “The frequency of genetic testing is not high, and even many people only do it once in a lifetime, unlike cardiovascular drugs that need to be taken for a long time.” How to ensure profits is a common problem faced by genetic testing companies. In the future, Novogene will tie testing items and drugs. Determined to expand profit channels through cooperative sales or data sharing.
Even if the field of cardiovascular genetic testing still faces more or less challenges, Li Wenfeng is still confident in the future of this field. “With the maturity of sequencing technology, the decline in costs, the continuous listing of drugs, and the increase in public awareness, the market scale in this field will further expand.” Next, Novogene will continue to deepen the field of cardiovascular genetic testing and strengthen cooperation with third parties. The cooperation of professional associations accelerates market development. Provide more services for patients with cardiovascular diseases.