Caucasians comprise 4 in 5 of available genomic sequences for analysis. This stark homogeneity has been presenting an interpretive challenge for drug researchers since these sequences share, not just many genetic variants, but also phenotypic and disease characteristics. This greatly complicates determining the significant genetic findings from those that reflect population related benign variants.

Drug researchers have recognized that this severe lack of diversity hugely limits their potential of discovering genomics-powered treatments for a healthier world.

The focus has been on describing the genome, naturally, since the beginning of the genomics era. After all, describing the genome itself was a major achievement just a few years back. With this achieved, it was clear that genetic differences would be of critical importance to discovery, as well as to provide relevance of genomic findings to the different populations themselves.

As researchers led us into this era of genomics-led drug discovery, diversity of genomic samples has come into focus and this represents a paradigm shift.

Furthermore, at this time, our understanding of the sequence data remains very limited. While the genome reflects all the DNA in our cells, much of the work to date has focused on a subset of that DNA, the exome. This is the part of the genome that represents the genes that code for the proteins, fats and carbohydrates that make up our cells, organs and body. The exome constitutes only 2% of the genome, the rest having regulatory and other roles that are very poorly, or not at all understood at this time.

Despite the fact that we can now sequence all the 20,000 or so genes and the focus of most research being on them, we only understand the role for less than half of them. The rest are largely a mystery. 

The new knowledge gained due to the focus on diversity will open up a myriad of treatment opportunities.

The purpose of acquiring genomic data is to use it, and to do that it is necessary to understand it. There remains an enormous gap in our understanding of human biology and what happens to it that leads to disease. It is expected that by including diverse populations and the different manners in which their health is impacted, this gap can be narrowed significantly.

Anuva is creating the world’s most diverse genomic bio/data bank to help researchers accelerate genomics-led drug discovery.

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Dr. Jonathan Picker Chief Executive Office

Dr. Jonathan Picker is the Chief Executive Officer of Anuva. He is an affiliate faculty member and clinical geneticist at Boston's Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

With 25 years of experience in Pediatrics and Genetics, Dr. Picker specializes in the interface of clinical care and applied genetic and genomic research. Dr. Picker's research spans diagnostic tools in genetics to descriptive analysis of rare disorders to molecular neuroscience. He was the co-founder and Director of the first Pediatric Pharmacogenomic clinic in the USA; as well as Director of the Harvard Medical School Advanced Human Genetics Training Program Course.

Dr. Picker is the recipient of various prestigious awards, including the first Sidney R. Baer Jr. Prize for Mental health Research. He has authored numerous research papers involving informative cases, molecular biology, behavioral neuroscience, applied clinical genetic guidelines as well as invited reviews and chapters.

Dr. Picker holds a bachelor's degree of Medical Biology in Genetics, and an MBChB in Medicine from Aberdeen University, UK. He also holds an MS in Genetics and Biochemistry and a PhD in Molecular Biology from Newcastle University, UK.

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Kushagra SharmaPresident & Board Member

Kushagra Sharma is the President and a Board Member at Anuva. A seasoned business leader with a career spanning entrepreneurship as well as general management, Kushagra has deep expertise in developing and executing business plans in start-ups as well as large corporations. He is responsible for the revenue growth of the business, strategic planning, and partnerships at Anuva.

Before joining Anuva, he was responsible for the strategy and project execution in launching 4G digital services for Reliance Jio in India. Kushagra has previously served in leadership roles in companies like British Telecom, MTS Sistema Shyam, Grail Research and Evalueserve.

He holds a bachelor's degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and an MBA from INSEAD, Fontainebleau.

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Dr. Asmi ShahVice President of Data and Technology

Dr. Asmi Shah is the Vice President of Data and Technology at Anuva. She joined Anuva in its very initial years and has contributed significantly in shaping its products end to end along with other R&D platforms. She brings her data science expertise in dealing with big data, managing and standardizing multidisciplinary large scale biological datasets in the field of drug discovery through genomics and phenomics.

Before joining Anuva, she contributed to the research of drug discovery done with the use of high content/throughput screening on various zebrafish assays at University of Heidelberg in Germany and at Harvard Medical School, USA. She has also taken up various technical roles in product management and software R&D with different corporate industries such as Intel, Rambus and Inform Technologies in the USA and with data analytics startups in India.

Dr Shah holds a bachelor’s degree from Saurashtra University, India, an MS from San Jose State University, USA and has pursued her PhD from University of Heidelberg, Germany under a Marie Curie fellowship.

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Dr. Nick England Vice President of Bioinformatics

Dr Nick England is the Vice President of Bioinformatics at Anuva. He brings with him over 10 years of commercial bioinformatics experience. He is responsible for the development of bespoke bioinformatics software and pipelines to maximize biological insight from our data.

Before joining Anuva, he worked at Kymab where he developed the bioinformatics used in IntelliSelect for processing and visualizing antibodies from humanized mice, as well as implementing continuous integration and shifting computation to the cloud. This successful informatics platform is now also used by other companies such as LifeArc and Petmedix. He has previously worked on cheminformatics projects with Unilever and Novartis.

Dr England holds an MSci degree in Natural Sciences as well as a PhD in cheminformatics from the University of Cambridge.