Hoping to trump heavily-funded and tightly-networked Silicon Valley firms, Indian startup InterpretOmics will harness the subcontinent’s cheap skilled labour resources to develop an app that allows anyone to understand their DNA for just $100 — undercutting similar offerings from rivals in the U.S. that can cost up to 100 times more.
The Bangalore-based start-up, founded by Prahalad Achutharao and Dr. Asoke Taulkder, just closed the $1.7 million seed round to further develop iOmics, an app which researchers can use to analyse DNA and identify diagnostic markers that indicate disease.
The seed investment might not sound like a lot in the world of medical research, but it will go a long way in India, where Achutharao said it costs between $8,300 to $25,000 annually for a data scientist, depending on their experience, skills, and discipline. This is a fraction of the salaries in the U.S., where similar talent commands salaries starting in the six figures. The Indian startup employs 10 data scientists whose knowledge has been coded into the iOmics application, Achutharao said, rather than them simply manually interpreting data and reporting the results.