07/10/2014 - 16:30

Perth strategy first for genetic profiler

07/10/2014 - 16:30

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Melbourne-based biotech Fitgenes has brought control of its extensive health and nutrition clinics in-house.

Perth strategy first for genetic profiler
PERSONAL: Sharon Palmer says people are realising health and wellness interventions are not ‘one size fits all’. Photo: Attila Csaszar

An Australian biotechnology company has opened its first company-owned and branded clinic in Perth as it also plans to deploy services based on research acquired from the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research.

Fitgenes is a Melbourne-headquartered company, which offers patients health and nutritional guidance based on genetic profiling.

The company’s technology and programs have been offered to clients by more than 450 independent health professionals, across six countries in their own clinics, following training from Fitgenes.

But it has now decided its future lies in taking control of that service delivery itself, and has chosen Perth as the place to launch its new business model of having company-owned and branded clinics.

Based in Maylands, the first clinic is run by the company’s head of business development, Sharon Palmer, who joined the company in 2012 after offering clients the Fitgenes service at her own clinic.

“We (Fitgenes) decided that in order to control the final product and the programs that we deliver to our patients, we were much better actually doing it through our own clinics,” Ms Palmer said.

She said demand for the tailor-made programs was steady and services would be expanded beyond the initial detoxification program in the near future to include programs focused on things such as weight management, anti-ageing and cardiovascular health.

Ms Palmer told Business News clients could expect to pay about $2,000 for the basic 12-week detoxification program, which included the $545 cost for DNA testing.

Fitgenes is in the process of listing on the Australian Securities Exchange through a reverse takeover of ATW Holdings, which previously held a major shareholding in Singaporean spa operator Atos Wellness.

It is seeking to raise $3 million through the issue of 12,000,000 shares at a price of 30 cents each in order to re-comply with ASX listing rules.

The company plans to use the money raised to continue to roll out its own clinics, either through acquisition or joint ventures, which Ms Palmer said should number around six nationally within the next year.

The Perth clinic is being pitched as the example of the potentially lucrative and scalable business, with estimations that it and similar clinics could bring in revenue of about $2.25 million per year.

The company will also add Perth’s Liddy McCall to its board after her investment company, Yuuwa Capital, provided Fitgenes with an injection of $1 million in June this year.

Another of Fitgenes’s plans is to integrate research, which it acquired from the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research spin-out, GordianTec, in which Yuuwa Capital was also an investor.

Ms Palmer said the researchers were investigating the relationship between genetic predispositions to serious health implications from diabetes.

“But, of course, it was one thing to isolate the genes … but the researchers said they still didn’t know what to do (to treat patients),” Ms Palmer said.

“Genes alone don’t tell you what the interventions are, and because Fitgenes has really been focusing on the interventions, what they saw was that they had a solution – they had the gene but they didn’t have the intervention.”

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