Israeli gut microbiome specialist sets sights on China for anti-diabetes personalised nutrition
The company's expansion plans are also being spurred by the generally positive response it has been receiving in the US and its native Israel.
The firm specialises in gut microbiome analysis, which it uses to to provide individual customers with specific information and advice.
The process begins with a kit purchased from DayTwo, containing tools to help the customer collect and store a stool sample to be sent to the firm for analysis.
The customer must also fill out a questionnaire and provide a glycated haemoglobin blood test result. Using this, clinicians can determine the customer's average blood sugar levels over the last few weeks or months.
DayTwo then sequences the DNA of the customer's gut microbiome, profiling its composition and diversity. An algorithm — made with patent-pending technology licensed from Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science — uses this information to produce a nutrition profile unique to the individual.
Finally, the customer receives an app and consultation with a dietitian to teach him how to use the app, and advise him on meal-planning.
CEO and co-founder Lihi Segal told NutraIngredients-Asia: "We provide consultations with our dietitians for a review of customers' results, and an 'explore your microbiome' report — what gut bacteria live inside your gut and which medical conditions these bacteria are associated with, as reported in current literature."
She added that the feedback so far has been encouraging.
"Diabetic and pre-diabetic patients have been experiencing lowered glycated haemoglobin levels based on our recommendations. In addition, users have reported weight loss and overall, are feeling better throughout the day — they feel less hungry and more energetic."
DayTwo has also partnered with more established companies to advance its scientific and technological processes.
Last February, the firm announced a collaboration with Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Janssen Research & Development to develop the former's platform for gestational and type 2 diabetes intervention, in the hopes of eventually turning it into a 'full-blown medical treatment programme'.
Segal said, "The partnership with Johnson & Johnson is dual — they are investors and also research partners. We are currently conducting two clinical trials with them: one on type 2 diabetes, and the other on gestational diabetes."
DayTwo also counts among its clinical research partners the renowned Mayo Clinic, one of the contributors to its $12m Series A round of financing last July.
"The purpose of the collaboration with the Mayo Clinic is to repeat and validate the research done at the Weizmann Institute, which will help improve our algorithm's accuracy and predictability.
"The trial was recently completed and will be published soon."
Segal said, "We have plans to expand into the APAC region. I believe the first target will be China as diabetes is a growing epidemic there. Realistically, we would get there in a year to a year and a half.
"Within the next year, we will start on Series B, where we will focus on marketing our services. At that point, we should be sufficiently established in the US, and so we can begin moving into other territories. Ideally, we'd like to find a local Chinese partner."
She added that DayTwo had been approached by potential partners globally, and was "at different stages of discussion with some of them".
"We've gotten interest from over 60 countries, including Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
"Eventually, we would like to expand globally and start selling the kit commercially."