Precision medicine thanks to the analysis of the patient’s DNA
Yolima Puentes, is CEO of Duponte a Sevillian biotechnology company which, in addition to offering consultancy and advisory services, has developed a tool that facilitates access to DNA analysis that allows people to know in advance the results of the drugs that can be prescribed to them. This is a very important innovation in the field of genomics, since the algorithm developed by Duponte, the result of Puentes’ research, drastically reduces the cost and time of DNA analysis in order to apply it to medical treatments. The company, despite having been in existence for just over a year, is having significant success, reflected not only in recognition but also in its turnover and expansion in Latin America, which is the beginning of its vocation to operate worldwide.
What is Dupont?
–Duponte is a young company that provides medical solutions so that patients can have adequate drug treatments with the greatest effectiveness and the fewest adverse reactions, using genomic analysis techniques to identify variability in drug response. It is headquartered in Seville and provides services worldwide.
What have been the main achievements and recognitions obtained by the company?
–Without a doubt, the development of the algorithm for the analysis of genomic variants has been a fundamental achievement. In order to determine those variants that will lead us to know the response of a person to a specific drug, we must compare them with two world genome databases to find the matches. It is a job in which two specialized people can take three weeks. With our algorithm it is done in a single click. Naturally, the algorithm must be previously parameterized, but the saving of time and work is enormous and the main consequence is the accessibility to this information, vital for many people.
At the business level, we are very satisfied with our foray into Latin America. It was as a result of the COVID epidemic that we detected that in some countries such as Colombia and Peru, laboratories had to start from scratch in terms of genomics and we were able to help them with our advisory service, thus beginning our penetration in those markets, which I hope will continue. because our vocation is to be a company that offers services worldwide.
Regarding the awards, we were winners of the e-Dea challenge of the pharmaceutical multinational Pfizer, we have been recognized as one of the 10 most innovative companies in Andalusia by the Scale up program and Minerva acceleration Finalist, the Vodafone platform and the Junta from Andalusia.
How did the idea come about?
–The idea of our most innovative product, Matchgénica, arose when I was doing research for my doctorate at the Virgen Macarena Hospital in Seville, from the results I saw that in order to determine the variability, that is, the genomic response of a patient to a treatment , if it was going to be more effective or if there was a risk of adverse effects, it could be done but it took a long time and had a very high cost, so I set out to make genomic analysis work for patients and arrive in a way easy to analyze and apply.
We are talking about genomics and pharmacogenomics, which are concepts with which the reader may not be very familiar.
–It is normal because they are relatively new sciences or knowledge, think that until the year 2021 the human genome was not 100% completed. Although human DNA was already unlocked in 2003, there were gaps that could not be filled until 2021,
Pharmacogenomics is the study of how genes can affect how different people respond to different drugs. Depending on your genes, certain drugs may be safer and more effective for each patient.
Pharmacogenomic tests can be done with a blood sample, but also with a simple saliva sample, making it easy to test from home. The sample will be sent to a pharmacogenetic testing laboratory, and the DNA will be sequenced and analyzed to identify variations, or changes, in the genes that show how a patient responds to medications.
The tests will predict the individual drug response in a person along with an estimate of risk. That person’s genome sequence will help tailor a dose for a specific drug, especially drugs for heart disease, pain, and psychiatric conditions. including those that treat anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, OCD, and bipolar disorder.
What importance do you give to innovation?
–We are a totally innovative company, innovation allows us to adapt to meet the needs of patients that change day by day, in addition to reaching different markets
Our most innovative developments are the Matchgenica program that predicts the risk of possible adverse drug effects in each patient and the response that a specific patient will have to a treatment, replacing the traditional trial-and-error system, which greatly improves the therapeutic possibilities. and the well-being of patients. We also have the development of a drug interaction module to improve pharmaceutical care and the development of an assistant robot for the pharmacotherapeutic follow-up of patients.
What result has your innovation had?
–Improves patient health outcomes and adherence to treatment for chronic diseases, which is very important. Adherence to medical treatment is compliance by the patient. Knowing in advance which medication is most beneficial for a patient and will produce fewer adverse effects greatly improves the percentage of follow-up.
How do you see the future? How has the crisis affected your company?
–We see the future as a constant challenge, we must adapt to changing market conditions. The crisis has affected us in time since our initiative is developing but a little slower, due to the fear of clients of new investments.
How do you assess the role of public administration?
–The role of the public administration is fundamental, but it requires more efficient processes in terms of quickly incorporating new innovations that generate value for the population in general. Specifically, it could improve the response times of the procedures of the Spanish drug agency, the public health services should invest in the genomic sequencing of the population to establish prevention plans.
Yolima Puentes Osorio. CEO of Duponte
Yolima Puentes Osorio, CEO of Duponte Research and Development, Spain is a Colombian, born in the city of Duitama, in 1980, currently living in Seville Graduated in Pharmacy from the University of Antioquia (Colombia) in 2003, she has a Master’s in Management Strategic in 2009,
Entrepreneur with extensive experience, leading consultant and auditor in Spain and LATAM. She is currently a doctoral candidate in Pharmaceutical and Food Sciences. Her main areas of expertise are Pharmacogenomics in Rheumatoid Arthritis, Bioinformatics, Innovation, ICTs and Standardization. She is the author of different scientific articles and technological developments.
Name Dupont Research and Development
Foundation year 2021
productive sector Biotechnology
social media Duponte Group (Facebook)
The impact of pharmacogenomics
Genes, our DNA, determine many of our personal traits, not just our physical characteristics, but things like the risk we have of contracting a disease, or the way we will react to a specific medical treatment; if it will be more effective than other alternatives or even if it will produce adverse effects. Pharmacogenomics, which is the science that studies how genes make different people respond differently to medicines, is dedicated to investigating these issues that are so important for health; knowledge that can greatly help patients by personalizing their treatments according to their genetic profile. This is what Yolima Puentes is dedicated to, a Colombian living in Seville, a pharmacist, researcher and entrepreneur who, while doing her doctoral studies in a Seville hospital, realized the enormous benefits that this technique can have for patients, which surpasses the traditional method in some ailments of testing medications until finding the one that is most effective and without adverse effects in a given patient. But she also realized that carrying out such analyzes was expensive and slow, so she decided to investigate to develop an algorithm capable of doing the job automatically.
These basically explained analyzes are a comparison of the genetic data of a person with the world genetic databases, something that involved the work of two specialized people for three weeks and that with the Matchgenica program developed by Duponte is done in a single click.
Duponte is the company founded by Yolima Puentes, who, in addition to advising and consulting in biotechnology, has developed this pioneering innovation worldwide that makes genetic analysis oriented towards the prescription of effective treatments with fewer adverse effects within the reach of people. The company is only one year old, and it has already obtained important recognitions, such as that of the pharmaceutical company Pfizer.
Yolima Puentes, for her part, is a born entrepreneur. As she herself explains, she has felt her eagerness to undertake since she was a child, so much so that she has already started various businesses that, once consolidated, she has left them in the hands of other people because for her the important thing is to start new challenges, especially challenges like This one that he has undertaken in Seville, because he is especially motivated by the fact that science, biotechnology in this case, reaches people by helping them with their health.
Like many entrepreneurs, he is always thinking of ideas and applications of technology and knowledge that not only serve to create a prosperous business but also help people, in this case in something as basic and important as health.