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Affordable DNA testing and AI backed elderly care are already underway in Malaysia

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[This is a sponsored article with Cyberview.]

At the state that the world is still in, we’re taking healthcare more seriously than ever. But instead of simply focusing on curative healthcare, more startups are addressing the growing demand for preventative healthcare.

Noticing this trend and more, the Cyberview Living Lab Accelerator (CLLA) pivoted from venture-building to a demand-led model earlier this year that set its sights on these key areas: Financial Technology (FinTech), Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Retail Tech, and most recently, its alignment with Cyberview’s new tech focus areas i.e. Smart Mobility, Smart Healthcare and Digital Creative.

Note: Cyberview is a Tech Hub Developer, spearheading the development of Cyberjaya.

Shafinaz Salim, Head of Technology Hub Development Division for Cyberview explained, “While the pandemic did not change the focus areas of the programme, many aspects are notably different given the waves of changes brought upon by the pandemic.”

With a greater sense of urgency for digital transformation, her team identified the aforementioned sectors to be among the top industries undergoing transformation and accelerated digital adoption. 

To highlight some startups with such solutions in CLLA’s 16th Cohort, we spoke to Supagene.Asia and Guardians AI in the smart healthcare focus area.

For accessible DNA testing

DNA testing provides us with greater clarity and insights into our bodies and health, allowing us to anticipate future issues and take fast preventative measures.

Launched in 2019, Supagene.Asia aims to do just that by bridging the gap in personalised health and wellness with its DNA testing kits.

Nura and her team at Supagene.Asia (left), their DNA testing kit (right) / Image Credit: Supagene.Asia

With other competitors already in the market though, Supagene.Asia believes that it can stand out with more accurate results and an actionable programme.

“One thing very crucial for a consumer to know before they run their DNA test is to know what DNA data set is being used by the test’s company,” Co-Founder Nura Samsuddin told Vulcan Post.

“In Supagene.Asia, we are focusing on Asian population DNA data sets, which give more accurate results to our customers in Malaysia and Southeast Asian regions.”

In the DNA testing lab / Image Credit: Supagene.Asia

To add, the startup provides a full post-testing actionable programme which gives tailored, practical solutions to their clients with the support of its partnered health professionals.

Based on brief research for DNA testing options in Malaysia, Supagene.Asia’s kit also appears to be one of the most affordable at RM1,499 for two (RM749.50 per kit). 

Typically, you would expect to pay at least RM1,000 for a single kit, even from Malaysian DNA testing companies.

Thus far, Nura reported that the market response to Supagene.Asia’s solutions has been promising, particularly after its pivot to serve B2B clients through partners like KL Sky Clinic, MedKad, and more.

But being a company founded by individuals in science-related backgrounds, Nura admitted that marketing and advertising to consumers was one of their biggest challenges.

When they brought this issue to CLLA, they were strategically connected to experts who then helped them with brand positioning and market direction.

Through CLLA, Supagene.Asia has also been able to network with government agencies like MIDA, MDEC, and TERAJU to draw investments.

For AI-backed elderly care

The larger Guardians AI team / Image Credit: Guardians AI

In the realm of elderly care, Guardians AI was launched in January 2021.

“The impetus for launch was due to the COVID-19 pandemic, [whereby] many nurses and caregivers in the private sector were absorbed into the public sector,” Dr. Goh, Founder and Managing Director of Guardians AI shared. 

This resulted in a void in private healthcare, particularly in the less profitable aged care sector, he added. Nursing home operators grew severely short on staff, and many caregivers were exhausted from overwork.

More mistakes began occurring, such as elderly falls in the night going unnoticed until morning. And it wasn’t just the elderly who were impacted, but the exhausted caregivers would then be blamed, leading to low morale and even depression.

With the need for fall monitoring solutions highlighted, Dr. Goh and his team set to work. They came up with a solution that takes away the burden of round-the-clock monitoring and informs caregivers of any incidents involving the elderly.

(From left) The pager, transmitter, and Beaco (placed on the ceiling) / Image Credit: Guardians AI

Using a combination of sensors and trained AI algorithms, the device is placed on the ceiling to monitor top-down these situations: bed exits, falls, and when the patient has been attended to by a caregiver. 

Under its pre-set parameters for a mobile, frail elderly person with dementia, the system’s accuracy is believed to be close to 98%.

According to Dr. Goh, Guardians AI’s solution is also more foolproof than wearables for the elderly, as smartwatches and the like are costly, prone to getting lost, require frequent charging, and more. 

Their current target customers are nursing homes and elderly receiving care in their own homes. So far, Dr. Goh said the response has been “cautiously positive”.

Guardians AI being used in nursing homes / Image Credit: Guardians AI

“‘Cautiously’ because this is a very novel solution in the market and many are not familiar with its use, and ‘positive’ because most of our customers are very intrigued by this solution and hoping some day that the status quo can be changed for the better.”

Once the team has sufficient research evidence on their system’s ability to prevent falls, they will target the hospital market.

For Dr. Goh, one of his biggest challenges running the startup has been uncertainties and money, which can significantly impact one’s psyche. But thanks to his supportive circle, he was able to pull through.

One of these support systems was CLLA and its experienced mentors who reinvigorated Dr. Goh with renewed optimism, plans, and perspectives. 

He even shared that Guardians AI has pivoted at least 3 times throughout CLLA in terms of its revenue model, business plan, and operations.

As for his advice on how to really benefit from CLLA? 

“Go all out. Leverage the experience, contacts, and expertise of mentors. It would be the best time to scale your business.”

  • For more information on the Cyberview Living Lab Accelerator (CLLA) programme, click here
  • Find out what we’ve written about Cyberview in the past here.

Featured Image Credit: Guardians AI / Supagene.Asia

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Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)

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