Hologenomix | Pioneering Multi-Omics Profiles for Early Disease Diagnosis

Hologenomix, the newest resident at Planet B.io, is creating multi-omics profiles from human biofluids. As the first user of our Shared Service Lab, Hologenomix is poised to revolutionize early disease diagnosis through DNA analysis. Co-founders David Calderon Franco and Eric van der Toorn share insights into their journey and vision.

How it all began…

David Calderon Franco’s journey into entrepreneurship began just before defending his PhD. "The professor came up with the suggestion of doing a startup," David recalls. He teamed up with Eric van der Toorn, whose expertise in bioinformatics complemented David's wet lab experience. This combination of skills set the foundation for Hologenomix.

Initially focused on the microbiome, the company pivoted to a broader biotechnological approach. "We started from the microbiome and now we are expanding beyond," David explains. "The whole idea is to leverage tools, databases, and techniques to isolate, analyze, and build around cell-free DNA (cfDNA)."

From Microbiome to Multi-Omics

The shift from microbiome analysis to creating multi-omics profiles was driven by market needs and scientific potential. "We didn't feel comfortable with actually selling profiles to customers without enough data to make reliable claims," Eric explains.

David elaborates on their current focus: "We are trying to build multi-omics profiles from human biofluids. These biofluids contain cfDNA, which has been described as a very interesting biomarker for early diagnosis of different conditions, including cancer and diabetes."

Overcoming Challenges

One of the significant challenges in their work is the isolation of cfDNA. "The isolation method of cfDNA is really not optimal," David notes. Commercial kits often result in low yields, insufficient for the high-accuracy sequencing required. Hologenomix aims to develop a more efficient isolation method to improve DNA extraction.

Eric highlights the potential impact of their approach: "We saw numbers that could mean an increase of up to 20 times the amount of DNA that could be produced as input, allowing for much greater accuracy in our profiles."


Collaboration and Community

Being part of the Planet B.io ecosystem provides Hologenomix with unique advantages. "We thought we could actively benefit from the knowledge and expertise of people working around here," David says. The availability of both office space and lab facilities was a key factor in their decision to join Planet B.io.

The Shared Service Lab offers crucial support for their early-stage projects. "It's good to have access to the shared lab for punctually running small experiments while we prepare our own lab," David explains. This flexibility allows them to manage costs and access specialized equipment without heavy upfront investments.


Looking Ahead

Hologenomix is still in the early stages of developing its processes, working closely with patent lawyers to protect their innovations. "We need to establish that we can get the kind of DNA we need for our profiles," Eric states. "Once proven, we can move forward with confidence."

The potential applications of their technology are vast. "We are initially targeting research institutions for validation," David says. "In the long term, we aim to collaborate with med-tech companies and big pharmas interested in our isolation method and multi-omics profiles."


A Vision for the Future

The motivation behind Hologenomix has always been to improve health outcomes. "At the end, the motivation was always to improve the health status of people," David emphasizes. Early diagnosis can lead to less invasive treatments and better patient outcomes. "If we can avoid more stringent tests or more aggressive treatments through early diagnosis, it's a significant improvement," he adds.

With their innovative approach and the supportive environment of Planet B.io, Hologenomix is set to make significant strides in developing multi-omics profiles. Their work holds promise for advancing early disease diagnosis and personalized medicine, ultimately improving the lives of countless individuals.


Want to learn more about Fishway? Check out their website; www.hologenomix.nl