Alumni Win Roddenberry Prize For Advancing Global Health


Alumni Sumit Jamuar MBA’02D and Kushagra Sharma MBA’05J of Global Gene Corp are among four recipients of a $1 million prize from the Roddenberry Foundation for their role in furthering science, particularly in the face of the global pandemic.

80% of existing genomic data comes from people of European ancestry

A biotech pioneer, Global Gene Corp, based in India, is democratising health care through genomics by mapping and organising the world’s genomic diversity.

Current genomic data and insights don’t represent global genetic diversity. Nearly 80% of all existing genomic data comes from people of European ancestry, while Asian, African and Latin American populations are under-represented. In essence, some 60% of the world’s population is represented by less than 5% of current datasets.

Genetic makeup affects all aspects of health–from the risk of disease to how quickly the body breaks down drugs–and this information is increasingly being used as the basis for new tests and treatments. This means that most of the world’s population could be missing out on vital health care innovations based on genetic information.

To overcome this bias, Global Gene Corp has built the most diverse genomic dataset for human populations, augmented by a cutting-edge digital health and therapeutics development platform to deliver the benefits of precision health care to everyone, regardless of where they live or where they come from. It is also working with hospitals and labs to collect data from volunteers in order to study their DNA. In doing so, the company hopes to better understand genetic disorders and identify effective treatments for them.

Covid highlights urgent need for innovation and enhancement of health care infrastructure and services

The Covid-19 crisis has heightened the importance of the company’s work, as the interplay between human and pathogen genomes can influence the severity of a viral outbreak.

Global Gene Corp has built technology platforms to enable large scale studies on human health and well-being. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the company expanded its platform to include a multilingual Contact Tracing Platform called “Co-Trace”. This can be used for Contact Tracing, Individual Risk Evaluation, Mobility Passports and even generating insights on the pandemic, augmenting local strategies and delivering a complete solution for any country or region.

Jamuar, Chairman and CEO of Global Gene Corp, said that he was honoured to receive the Roddenberry Prize. “This recognition of our work to create an equitable and fair world where all of us can benefit by leapfrogging to the health care of the future enabled by genomics, digital health and creating the next generation of therapeutics is a truly remarkable moment in our journey to create lasting transformation.”

Testament to Star Trek creator’s vision of a brighter, more inclusive future

The Roddenberry Prize recognises extraordinary organisations working on innovative solutions to issues that demand audacious, far-reaching and scalable responses.

Each year, four game-changing solutions receive $250,000 for their work in one of the following fields: Education, Science, Environment and Humanity. Winners are selected based on their innovativeness, potential for impact, vision and track record. In response to Covid-19, an added emphasis was placed on applications that address the range of societal, health and economic repercussions of the pandemic.

The prize is a testament to the vision of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry for a future where diversity and tolerance are encouraged and in which inclusivity and equality are the norm. Since it first aired over five decades ago, Star Trek has continued to offer a unique brand of science fiction that invites us to “think, question and challenge the status quo” with the intention of creating “a brighter future”.

“Growing up on Star Trek, Gene Roddenberry inspired us with his vision of a future where technology is a force for incredible positive impact on humanity,” said Jamuar. “We are humbled to be a part of that.”

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