Recently DNA Genotek had the pleasure of speaking with Matías Butti, one of the co-founders of an innovative genomic medicine company located in Argentina named genomIT SA (genomit.com.ar). genomIT SA has a strong and experienced scientific, machine learning & biotechnology team and offers a host of genetic tests under the Zoigen brand, many of which are of their own design. From our discussion, we learned how precision medicine is evolving in Latin America, the challenges the Zoigen brand has encountered while designing and implementing their products and services, as well as how Oragene saliva kits have simplified their collection process.
genomIT, co-founded by Matías Butti and Sebastián Menazzi, MD, aims to bring innovative genetic developments to preserve health, prevent disease and encourage a healthy lifestyle through the Zoigan brand of products. Their flagship service, Z.Fit, analyzes over 90 genetic markers in salivary DNA in order to design an optimal diet and personalized training routine for a healthy lifestyle and to help prevent disease.
Q&A with co-founder Matías Butti
Describe Zoigen’s personalized genetic services and how these services reflect your mission as a genetics company.
Matías, Zoigen (email@example.com): At Zoigen we aim, through our medical team, to aid people in knowing their genetics so they can better manage their health. We’re currently offering several genetic tests and we are in the process of expanding our portfolio. Our flagship test combines nutrigenomics, sports/cardiovascular and metabolic disease prevention, with over 100 tests sold in the last two months.
Our mission is to be the reference laboratory in the region for personalized medicine, focused on prevention opportunities and actionable genetic results. We aim to provide useful genetic information for physicians and patients, offering the right test for each stage of the patient’s life in order to empower health decision-making capabilities and reduce trial-and-error steps.
What challenges did Zoigen overcome to implement personalized genetics in Latin America?
Matías, Zoigen: The main challenge we’ve identified is a general lack of knowledge of personalized medicine and how genetics can play a role in improving health care in the general population but also from the medical community regarding the availability and relevance of genetic tests.
Biospecimen quality is of utmost importance for research and clinical genetic applications. Why did you choose saliva as your primary sample type for your genetic tests?
Matías, Zoigen: Personalized medicine and saliva collection kits have become almost synonymous, and we try to offer a fast, simple, non-invasive and reliable method for acquiring and maintaining the DNA sample. Oragene DNA from saliva kits fulfills all these qualities and allows us to concentrate on the interpretation of results and delivery of care.
How important is a non-invasive DNA collection method to your clients?
Matías, Zoigen: Non-invasive methods prove to be an important difference in the way we collect samples, which may be collected in the patient’s own home or at work. This is greatly appreciated by patients living in remote cities but also by specialists who offer our services but cannot collect blood samples.
How important is DNA sample stability at ambient temperature in Latin America?
Matías, Zoigen: DNA sample stability at ambient temperature is much more convenient than handling/freezing blood samples for specialists who use our Z.fit for their patients. Collected Oragene/saliva samples are stored at room temperature in our secure facilities downtown Buenos Aires for a few days until shipped by regular mail to the lab for DNA to be extracted.
Where do you see the role of genetics for individuals in Latin America over the next 5-10 years?
Matías, Zoigen: As awareness of the increasing importance of genetic tests becomes widespread (due to local and international media), we are confident that the industry will expand in the region over the next years. There is also an opportunity to improve the low representation of genetic results from Latin Americans through personalized genetics, research, and engagement of governments as well as the pharmaceutical industry.
We’d like to thank Matias and the team at Zoigen for speaking to us about their progressive venture in personalized medicine and wish them much success in their mission.
If you are interested in trying saliva for your own DNA genetic application, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and request free Oragene saliva collection kits.