We’re in the Red Herring Top 100 European companies thanks to our tech, and we know exactly why!
That’s right, a panel of strict editors specialised in high technology, innovation and the future of business just named us one of the European companies to watch in 2019. And we are delighted to oblige, because it’s really a big honour.
Especially since Red Herring, a global tech and innovation magazine, has strict criteria to even be considered, including market size and prospects, social contribution, international footprint, level of speciality as well as experience and track record of the team and CEO.
The secret journey of your spit or stool
When you send us back your sample, it goes to a medical-grade lab, staffed with qualified technicians who use Illumina genetic sequencing machines to extract the DNA for analysis. Illumina, by the way, is the world leader in such technology and it is used by doctors, researchers, pharma and other companies that need DNA extraction.
The data is interpreted by our algorithm that translates endless computer code into comprehensible results for you in the Personal Account. The algorithm does a lot of other things too, like trawling thousands of handpicked scientific papers and clinical studies to find the ones that correspond with your genotype or the genetic information about your gut microbes.
It uses these data, and the answers to your health questionnaire to establish disease risks, health insights and food recommendations based on the results of the most accurate and up-to-date medical literature. Incredible, right?!
Behind the scenes
Fifteen years ago, a company like this was just a dream. Genetic sequencing technology was exorbitantly expensive and it wasn’t cool like it is now. Back then people used Auntie Bridget to trace ancestors, and doctors still believed that low-fat diets were a good thing.
At the same time, universities were changing because of radical thinkers who were passionate about new frontiers and how to use technology to make people healthier. One young graduate emerged from an embryonic field of science called bioinformatics that combines biology, computer science, information engineering, mathematics and statistics.
This graduate saw the future a bit clearer than most other people. His name was, and still is, Sergey Musienko. As you might have guessed, Sergey is our CEO of all things Atlas Biomed.
Atlas Biomed was built by his drive and it took more than just willpower. It took vision, passion, kindness and the fundamental belief that people can be healthier if they have the knowledge. And in many ways, it’s a philosophy that is applied inside our company too.
How many nerds to make a DNA test?
You won’t see a lot of photos of us, because we are mostly all nerds in our own way: quiet hermits and recluses that fulfill more stereotypes than we would like, including a reluctance to self-broadcast. What is sure though, is that you probably underestimate just how many nerds actually work for Atlas Biomed.
Now, you already know that we have doctors, geneticists and microbiome experts - we call this the RnD department. Some of these are biostatisticians, others specialise in oncology, as well as sports, eyesight, nutrition... The list is so long - fingers would be worn into stubs just typing it.
Basically, we could dust off a PhD-published scientist for pretty much any area that is covered by the DNA or microbiome test. We even have micro-teams working on some really cool nascent ideas (but you didn’t hear it from me).
The RnD department has two primary focuses in life. Firstly, they are responsible for adding new reports to the Atlas Biomed tests once they have vetted the research and established that there’s sound and reliable evidence to support a new trait. And they do research.
No, like PROPER research - the groundbreaking stuff that gets published in peer-reviewed journals and eventually goes on to be implemented in clinical medical practice. See, we really mean it when we say that Atlas Biomed tests are solid.
This department also has cross-over experts like biostatisticians that combine biology with computer science - which is basically essential in science nowadays. That’s right, forget beakers and frog dissections, nothing in science can be seen by the naked eye anymore, unless you’re superman. And there's no evidence for that in the literature yet.
The unsung heroes
And then there’s the IT team. Their job is just as important: develop, test and maintain all the infrastructure that makes your Personal Account possible. They also ponder serious questions like integrating more sources of health data to our current inputs and who will get the last slice of cake. They also have all the good office chairs.
Let’s not forget the even lesser-known members of the Atlas Biomed family. Firstly, we have a sales department because we don’t just do online sales. Selling our tests allows us to pay salaries and that allows us to never sell your data. So, in addition to direct users like you, there are a number of clinics in the UK and Europe that use Atlas Biomed DNA and microbiome tests for their patients.
There's also PR, media, marketing and content departments: a hodgepodge of talented community managers, web promotion experts and writers, including yours truly. We have the very difficult task translating scientists’ words into stuff normal people can understand without a PhD in molecular science. We interface with every single one of the aforementioned departments, and one final crew…
The Art Department and UX guys: they manage your user experience (UX, get it?). That’s right, our saucy website and dynamic Personal Account are the love children of talented artists and a hyper pointilious product manager. He makes sure that everything we add or change makes sense in the grand scheme of things.
Taste the rainbow
Let’s face it, we are the quintessential “millennial” company. We invite people to tell us about cool projects at other companies and it’s someone’s birthday every day, so there’s always cake unless the IT guys steal it first.
Sometimes we sit and contemplate whether the new bacteria illustration looks too much like a concerto of male appendages. Other times, we brainstorm how many different ways to say DNA. And the answer is not many…
It is every single one of those things that makes Atlas Biomed an award-winning company. We have a strong vision, great tech, revolutionary products, an incredible team and dare we say it, a wicked sense of humour. Woohoo!