Special Startup Series: Building novel genomics solution for accurate, personalized clinical decisions

Mumbai based HealthTech startup HaystackAnalytics has developed a genomics based diagnostic solution for Tuberculosis

Based out of IIT Bombay, HaystackAnalytics is a HealthTech company creating clinical genomics products, which enable diagnostic labs and hospitals to offer accurate and personalized diagnostics. It has created and launched a portfolio of products to offer genomics in infectious diseases.
The company is solving issues with scaling and mainstreaming technology by automating genomics with their genomic SaaS service. In this way, genomics, which was previously solely utilized for research, would turn into a scalable solution for mass patient adoption.
HaystackAnalytics’ genomics based diagnostic solution for Tuberculosis was recognized as one of top innovations supported by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) in the past 10 years, and was launched by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi at the BIRAC Showcase event in Delhi during 2022.
Gaurav Srivastava, Co-Founder, HaystackAnalytics calls it a fantastic journey. “The testimony of our journey is fascinating, as the initial collaborator who enthusiastically embraced our vision also emerged as the foremost investor in our venture. This mutual partnership not only established the basis of our company but also demonstrates the deep-seated trust that propels innovation and progression.”
Innovative offerings
The platform has four tests catering to two major diseases. The first one is Universal Drug Susceptibility Test for TB using genomics analysis through one test provides the patient and the doctor comprehensive information on the strain of TB and the antibiotics to be prescribed, reducing excessive use of antibiotics and higher chance of recovery with an accurate diagnosis. The initiative was launched in July 2021.
Second test is Universal Infectious Diseases Test that uses the same platform to create a screening test for 400+ bacteria and fungi reported in less than 12 hours. Is very important in identifying the pathogen and preventing sepsis which is a disease with the scale of 50 mn cases worldwide every year. The initiative was launched in January 2022.

HaystackAnalytics is solving issues with scaling and mainstreaming technology by automating genomics with their genomic SaaS service.”
Gaurav Srivastava – Co-Founder, HaystackAnalytics

Health Assessment test is the first-of-its-kind preventive healthcare genome test that helps analyze the whole exome, encompassing over 7000 genes, to understand the underlying disease predispositions. The test goes beyond screening health risks to covering 48 diagnostic medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, as well as other cardiovascular diseases which are actionable and identifies sensitivities and traits to enable holistic recommendations. It also provides over 50 diet and physical health-related characteristics. The initiative was launched in March 2023.
The impact
By using the HaystackAnalytics genomic SaaS technology to automate the field of genomics, we developed comprehensive one-test solution.  This has made it possible for HaystackAnalytics to develop ground-breaking solutions that will turn genomics, which was previously employed primarily for research, into a scalable solution for mass patient adoption. Current molecular diagnostic laboratories won’t need to upgrade their facilities or hire new employees thanks to the test.
Additionally, depending on the illness or infection, automation in genomics can significantly shorten the test turnaround time by 33 to 85 percent. For instance, HaystackAnalytics reduces the turnaround time from four to six weeks to only four days by offering a single test for 18 medications used to treat TB. By developing a universal infectious disease test, it enables clinicians to initiate the appropriate course of treatment by identifying 400+ pathogens (which can be increased to 1200+ pathogens) and coinfections in less than 12 hours. The end-user, the patient, the clinician, or the doctor may have the necessary information on the first day the test results are returned, which also implies eliminating the need for years-old cultural procedures and several diagnostic tests. The platform will be able to use genetic data to prevent disease outbreaks, unlike existing diagnostic procedures, which help to identify disease outbreaks. This is another benefit that a platform like HaystackAnalytics offers, particularly when employed in a public health environment.
By employing cutting-edge technologies and optimizing their testing processes, HaystackAnalytics has been able to eliminate the need for additional tests, thereby reducing the overall cost for patients.  Gaurav explains: “The present 5-day test regimen, whose total expense is about 20,000 whereas our TB test costs 7,000, will be replaced by TB WGS. infexn reduces the TAT to 12 hours; earlier it was 15-20 days, doing away with the necessity for numerous tests for culture, and reducing hospital spending on ICU patients. All infectious illnesses may be tested for with infexn, a single-stop shop for testing.”
Overcoming challenges
Founding a pioneering genomics healthtech company like HaystackAnalytics comes with its own set of challenges, especially in the early days and during the process of scaling and mainstreaming technology. From the skeptical medical community, to technological complexity, and from regulatory approval to clinical validation, and market education and adoption, the company has tackled many challenges.
The medical community is traditionally cautious when it comes to adopting new technologies for diagnosis. Genomics is a highly complex and rapidly evolving field. Developing technology that accurately analyzes and interprets genomic data requires advanced bioinformatics, computational biology, and data science expertise. The team had to navigate through this complexity to create a reliable and effective genomic SaaS service.
The largest obstacle was convincing potential customers that this innovative technology would be useful in India when we demonstrated the product. The healthcare industry as a whole is quite hesitant when it comes to implementing new technologies to make assessments. Addressing these challenges requires a combination of technical expertise, strategic planning, effective communication, and a strong commitment to the company’s mission.
In terms of managing its finances, HaystackAnalytics has implemented a sensible financial strategy that involves prudently allocating resources to various aspects of its R&D endeavors. “We prioritize investments that directly contribute to enhancing our products and services, while also striking a balance between innovation and sustainability,” says Gaurav.
In terms of fundraising, the company is actively exploring opportunities to expedite its R&D efforts. It has commenced discussions with potential investors who not only share our vision but also comprehend the transformative potential of its work.
HaystackAnalytics Team in its Mumbai office.
Way Forward
The company is reaching out to audiences while collaborating with companies regarded as industry leaders, such as Lifecell (TB), Thyrocare, Metropolis, and SRL. This will enable it to increase brand reputation, reach, and usability. Betting big on technological advancement, the company is creating diagnostic tests for a larger variety of disorders using the bioinformatics platform.
Listing his top priorities, Gaurav says: “At HaystackAnalytics, we are dedicated to facilitating technology. We hope to establish a gold standard for the diagnosis of infectious illnesses and provide a “Culture-free” zone in the healthcare industry with the aid of this cutting-edge sequencing technology. Our goal is to expand the use of our tests globally and revolutionize the diagnostics market.”

Huge Growth Potential
In 2022, the global genomics market was worth about $28.05 billion. It is predicted to grow and reach about $107.5 billion by 2031, with a growth rate of about 16.1% each year from 2023 to 2031.

The primary goal of the company is to drive progress in analytics and provide valuable insights to our customers. It holds an optimistic outlook for the future as it diligently strives towards securing essential resources that will propel further advancement in its R&D initiatives, ultimately resulting in substantial innovative solutions.
“We will soon introduce our ground-breaking, unique lifetime test for all diseases that a person is prone to owing to their genes, the type of exercise program that would work best for them, and the optimum nutrition,” Gaurav signs off.

*The story was first published in the October 2023 edition of BioVoice News eMagazine.