A former University of Warwick student has launched a ground-breaking DNA test for heart conditions that will help to save lives. The new testing product – a simple saliva collecting kit – coupled with a lifestyle and self-reported health information survey, is now being used by practitioners to help diagnose patients and also to decide which preventative medication would suit them best.
Pictured (left to right): Abdullah Sabyah (Rightangled), Dirk Schafer, Alex Toft (both University of Warwick Science Park)
Former University of Warwick student and CEO of Rightangled Diagnostics, Abdullah Sabyah, decided to research the use of DNA testing to see if people are predisposed to heart conditions and the treatments to use, when his colleague and business partner, Floriane Rousse – Marquet’s mother suffered five strokes.
His research showed that mapping DNA and also tracking people’s lifestyles provide strong evidence of whether people are likely to suffer from heart problems and what steps or medications to take.
He said: “The research showed that you can see who is pre-disposed to a range of heart conditions as well as the propensity to respond differently to different treatments, based on genetic make-up.
“It works much better when you look at both their DNA and their lifestyle. You can also work out which medicines are best for each patient and if they need to change diet or lifestyle.”
As a new company, Rightangled needed space to grow, advice on how to get its product – a simple saliva collecting kit coupled with a lifestyle and self-reported health information survey – to market and funding.
On top of that, the nature of the industry means the company required a Care Quality Commission (CQC) registration.
“Starting any type of business is hard work and it dictates long hours of commitment and focus. But having the right type of support makes the process a bit easier as you know that your efforts are channelled into the right direction,” said Abdullah.
“Our ethos at Rightangled is that we always aim to do things the right way so it was important that we found that right advice and support that kept us in check during our product development.”
Business Ready has helped the firm through the planning stages and has supported it in accessing funding.
It has been backed financially by NHS England through the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network (WMAHSN) and the company was supported by Business Ready in the application for a grant from Coventry City Council’s Innovation Programme in order to help the business in its early stages.
Business Ready has also assisted in getting the company’s product and testing system registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
And, through the University of Warwick Science Park’s Ignite programme, Rightangled has been able to access incubation space at the Venture Centre.
Abdullah said: “The Business Ready programme has helped us to tap into expert advice – including preparing for meetings with potential funders and clinical bodies.
“Alex Toft, an advisor on the programme, used his years of expertise in this field to help us apply for and be registered by the CQC, which is the ultimate endorsement of the work we are doing.
“The funding has been absolutely vital in helping to move forward with the business and we’ve also benefited from very flexible and cost-effective office space here at the University of Warwick Science Park through its Ignite programme.”
The new testing product and lifestyle survey is now being used by practitioners to help diagnose patients and also to decide which preventative medication would suit them best.
It also means they can recommend any personalised lifestyle changes. Members of the public are also able to order the kits – either online through the company’s website www.heartdnatest.com or through local pharmacies – and the results will be assessed by Rightangled’s own partner cardiologists or passed through to the patient’s own doctor.
Abdullah said: “We couldn’t have done it without the support we’ve had from the University of Warwick Science Park.
“We are now looking forward to seeing our kit, our survey and our testing procedure help to save lives across the UK.”
Dirk Schafer, of the University of Warwick Science Park, said: “This is a truly amazing story and we are delighted that Business Ready, the Science Park and the University have all played a part in getting Rightangled to this stage.
“It shows that with the right help, advice and support, it’s possible for a great idea to be turned into a business with exciting prospects, which will ultimately save lives.”