South Korean telecom company KT Corp. announced on Friday that it signed a memorandum of understanding with molecular diagnostics startup NGeneBio to develop and commercialize customized digital healthcare services based on genetic information analysis. The agreement came as KT seeks to enter the digital healthcare industry.
Under the agreement, KT would provide artificial intelligence, big data, and cloud computing, while NGeneBio would provide its expertise in genetic information analysis and healthcare coaching services.
NGeneBio’s coaching services for KT customers would use healthcare service Genorhythm, which analyzes blood pressure, neutral fat, and blood sugar. This would provide consumers a personalized healthcare diagnostics.
Established in 2015, NGeneBio started as a joint venture between KT and Genecurix specializing in providing next-generation genome sequencing-based in vitro diagnostics products. The startup also manufactures reagents and software R&D for precision diagnosis.
“We will further strengthen our genetic analysis capabilities and develop a platform for the management and interlocking of personal genetic analysis information.”
– Choi Dae-chul, CEO of NGeneBio
Customized Healthcare Services
The collaboration between the two companies aims to develop and commercialize various digital healthcare services. These include customized healthcare services such as dietary and exercise therapies, creating a specialized platform for genetic information analysis and storage management, and forming big data services for personal genetic information.
Direct-to-consumer (DTC) genome sequencing is a service where consumers directly request a sequencing company to collect and analyze their DNA. DTC has many benefits, such as gaining deeper awareness and understanding of one’s genetic traits. This would provide personalized care and preventive measures to diseases such as cancer.
However, DTC genome sequencing still faces ethical barriers that restrict its scope, such as regulations when consumers consult a doctor.
On Tuesday, KT announced that it would collaborate with Medical Partners Korea to promote digital healthcare and medical informization. The strategic partnership would also develop and provide an ICT-based epidemic control system in Kazakhstan and Russia.
KT said that it chose “Digital bio” as the core of its future business strategy as it establishes ICT-based healthcare business models. The telecom company also said that it aims to improve poor medical conditions and uplift digital services.
Meanwhile, SK Telecom signed an agreement with Macrogen, a genome sequencing company, Newlake Alliance, and Invites Healthcare introduce a mobile app-based DNA testing service named “Care8 DNA.”
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