New data from clinical trial enables personalized weight loss therapies
Biomedical startup company Phenomix Sciences (Phenomix) 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 analyze 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 April 2021 issue of 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 conclude, "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.
Guiding treatment by four obesity phenotypes
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)
"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 centered 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."
A deadly, costly epidemic
The World Health Organization (WHO) includes obesity among the top leading causes of death on a global basis. In the U.S. alone, approximately 42% of American adults are affected by obesity, according to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) statistics, putting them at increased risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer, knee and hip disease, and premature death, as well as more severe cases of COVID-19. In fact, a 2018 Milken Institute study estimates obesity drives $480 billion in direct healthcare costs annually in the U.S.
"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. I look forward to the release of the MyPhenome™ blood test later this year," 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.
About Phenomix Sciences
Phenomix Sciences is a biomedical startup company whose inaugural product is a phenotype-driven multi-omics blood test used to predict responses to FDA-approved obesity interventions. Mayo Clinic physicians, scientists and professors, Andres Acosta and Michael Camilleri, founded the company. Phenomix is a spin out company of Health2047, the Silicon Valley-based innovation subsidiary of the American Medical Association. For more information, please visit https://www.phenomixsciences.com.
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Liv Williamsen, Commercial Strategy Consultant
Lisa Hawes, Sterling Communications