TruDiagnostic: a new level of epigenetic testing in longevity

An epigenetic testing data platform that enables accurate measurement of what’s working in longevity and what isn’t.

DISCLOSURE: Longevity.Technology (a brand of First Longevity Limited) has been contracted by the company featured in this article to support its current funding round. Qualifying investors can find out more via the Longevity.Technology investment portal.

US health data firm TruDiagnostic, Inc. is building out its epigenetic platform and testing services, which aim to provide the most accurate and insightful longevity analysis using information found in the fluid epigenome. With a primary focus on multi-omics and DNA methylation, the company provides a variety of algorithms and lab testing services that shed light on the mysteries of longevity.

TruDiagnostic’s flagship testing product, TruAge, measures biological age using DNA methylation data – but the company also provides a wide range of aging-related metrics, from telomere length and immune cell measurements to current rate of aging, intrinsic and extrinsic age calculations, and more.

Longevity.Technology: We’ve already explored how TruDiagnostic’s multi-omic epigenetic testing approach works, as well as its ground breaking cellular deconvolution method, which separates epithelial cells from immune cells in saliva samples. But how did the company get where it is today, and where is it headed next? To find out, we caught up with Ryan Smith, the company’s VP of business development.

TruDiagnostic’s origins stem from its founders’ previous success building and exiting a personalised medication company called Tailor Made Compounding, which was 2019’s 21st fastest-growing company in the United States and the fourth fastest-growing in healthcare.

“We went from zero to $80 million within three and a half years in terms of revenue, and from one employee to hundreds within three-and-a-half years – really massive growth, almost overnight,” Smith tells us. “But, as we were creating these medications, one of the things that was constantly in our minds was, how were they actually affecting long term health? How were they affecting longevity and healthspan? And we realised that we were going to need more data to really bring this from a niche community to worldwide access for preventive medicine.”

Improving DNA methylation clocks

Smith and his colleagues were particularly interested in the progress made in epigenetic methylation clocks, such as those developed by UCLA professor Steve Horvath.

“We decided that really should start investigating all these peptides and other products that we specialise in with these epigenetic methylation clocks,” says Smith. “But what we quickly realised was that the scale of methylation data from companies in the space was too narrow and wanted to find some better options for more detailed analysis. We also wanted to link health covariates. This led us to wonder what the future of methylation clocks would look like, and we thought we could add value.”

“We came to the conclusion that, more than anything else, the approach really needs more health data. The methylation data by itself is not very helpful – you need to train it with other health-related metrics. We saw an opportunity to drive and create new IP in this area – to try and build that Rosetta Stone, so to speak, of how to read epigenetic methylation. And we decided to go for it.”

Smith is also excited about TruDiagnostic’s recent licensing of DunedinPACE, a novel blood biomarker of the pace of aging, from Duke University.

“We believe that this is the best epigenetic aging algorithm available and best for implementation into personalized medicine and clinical use,” he says.

Bringing multi-omics into play

In 2020, TruDiagnostic built its 20,000 square foot CLIA-certified and HIPAA-compliant lab in Lexington, Kentucky, with the aim of helping drive the fields of epigenetics and longevity-focused personalized medicine.

In the lab at TruDiagnostic’s facility.

The company’s “multi-omics” approach refers to a biological analysis method that gathers data from multiple “omes”, such as the genome, proteome, transcriptome and epigenome, in order to provide insights into human health. Analysis of this combined data can provide insight into associations between biological entities, pinpoint relevant biomarkers and build elaborate markers of disease and physiology.

“Our lab is built for high throughput genetic analysis, as well as epigenetic analysis and transcriptomic analysis, and we’re adding proteomics very shortly,” says Smith. “The whole idea is that we want to cover this multi-omic data set and put all these things to get a better and more comprehensive picture.”

From physicians to researchers

With an initial focus on functional health clinics and practitioners, TruDiagnostic has already built a strong reputation in this sector.

“The practitioner market was really important for us,” says Smith. “First to make sure that it was being used appropriately, but also to provide access to additional datasets that could help us create more algorithms and interpretation algorithms.”

TruDiagnostic has since branched out into the direct-to-consumer market and, crucially, the research community. The company is today involved in a host of clinical trials, and operates in partnership with multiple academic research institutions, including labs at NC State, Duke, Harvard, Yale and UCSF, to name a few.

“At this point, we have over 30 different clinical trials ongoing, involving everything from plasma exchange to gene therapy,” says Smith. “This has given us a huge research community, and this has become the fastest growing area of our market. We’re doing not only the data generation based off the samples sent to us by universities and commercial research partners, but we’re also then doing some of those age-related analyses with all the publicly available algorithms to get an idea of the aging related changes as well.”

One of the company’s most pivotal studies underway is a collaboration with Harvard and Brigham and Women’s Hospital on the creation of a multi-omic trained phenotypic age clock and death predictor.

Publishing intervention studies

TruDiagnostic is now aiming to accelerate the company’s growth.

“We’re expanding our data set generation to add more multi-omic data to be able to train better algorithms,” says Smith. “In addition to that, we’re building out our marketing platform, and adding new lab equipment to help us expand that research service market that we forecast will generate as much as $8 million in revenue this year alone.”

“Our database is probably now the largest private epigenetic database in the world, and we think that adding pharma industry partnerships for drug discovery will be an important part of our future,” he says.

The data TruDiagnostic is generating is also helping advance aging research. Over the next year or so, TruDiagnostic hopes to publish at least 10 studies that will reveal what interventions are effectively slowing, halting, or even reversing the aging process.

“Being able to show that these interventions are actionable, and not just theoretical, is a big focus for us,” says Smith. “By the end of the summer, we also hope to show that we have the best death prediction clock and multi-omic trained biological age clock on the market.”

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Photograph: TruDiagnostic