Rural integrated healthcare delivery network Sanford Health announced it is investing $800,000 in TruGenomix, a provider of behavioral health information and services leveraging genomics and data.
Under the terms of the deal, Sanford Health will support TruGenomix by providing its state-of-the-art lab and research capabilities to validate a first-to-market patented blood test for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The genomic test enables earlier identification and improves outcomes for high-risk populations, including veterans, active-duty service members, frontline health care workers, and first responders.
“We know genomic medicine will fundamentally change the way we deliver care,” said Nathan Peterson, chief of staff, vice president, strategic planning and governance, Sanford Health. “We are honored to partner with TruGenomix and share in its commitment to provide personalized medicine solutions that improve the lives, health and future of our military service members, frontline healthcare workers, veterans and their families.”
The TruGenomix PTSD test, called TruGen-1, will be run by Sanford Imagenetics, the precision health and research arm of Sanford Health. It will sequence 2,000 samples using the test, which is a laboratory-developed blood test (LDT) that is based on decades of research culminating in a patent for gene expression biomarker profiles that identify an individual’s risk of developing PTSD. These biomarkers were discovered and validated using blood samples from a diverse population of individuals who have experienced extreme trauma, including 9/11 first responders, military service members, sexual assault survivors and Holocaust survivors and their descendants.
“We cannot prevent trauma, but we can reduce suffering by identifying those at higher risk,” said Charles Cathlin, CEO and co-founder, TruGenomix. “We can think of no better partner than Sanford Health to support us in the further development and commercialization of our genomic test that will allow clinicians to intervene earlier, deliver more targeted treatment for behavioral health disorders, and save lives.”
One out of 11 Americans suffers from PTSD, with a higher prevalence reported in veterans, soldiers, and first responders. The incidence of PTSD is rising amid the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for health care workers and others on the front lines. Women are twice as likely as men to develop PTSD, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Amid Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, TruGenomix’s African American, U.S. Veteran and female founders and executive team are dedicated to serving these populations and to advocating for more minority representation in leadership roles within the field of genomics.