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Innovations in personalised nutrition — podcast

Hologram Sciences unveils two new initiatives to drive innovation of personalised nutrition through advanced at-home diagnostics, hormone tracking, and custom insights.

Hologram Sciences is a newly formed, fast-moving, consumer-focused, start-up backed by Royal DSM. They develop and deliver new brands to market, supporting health and wellbeing - bringing together proven science, pioneering technology, and habit-building to create truly personalized solutions. Recently the company unveiled two new initiatives to transform wellness through personalized health and nutrition. This includes the launch of consumer brand PhenologyTM dedicated to women’s health, as well as an exclusive partnership with the German start-up Inne working on a breakthrough biomarker platform.
 

Tune in to hear about:

  • Recent trends in personalised nutrition
  • How PhenologyTM supports women during menopause
  • How PhenologyTM provides tailored recommendations based on an individual's genetics, lifestyle, and environment
  • The benefits of “minilab”, a non-invasive fertility monitoring system and potential applications for alternative health conditions

 

Guest

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Ian Brady
CEO, Hologram Sciences

 

Vitafoods Insights Podcast

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Podcast transcript:

Vitafoods Insights 00:06
Welcome to the Vitafoods Insights Podcast. Join us as we explore the latest science and innovation, helping the global health and nutrition industry connect, develop and progress. Today's host is Ajay Paul, graduate fellow.

Ajay 00:24
Hello and welcome to another Vitafoods Insights Podcast episode. Today we'll be talking about personalised nutrition and exploring some exciting initiatives which have the potential to transform this space. I'm delighted to be joined by Ian Brady, the CEO of Hologram Sciences, which is a newly formed fast moving consumer focused startup backed by Royal DSM to develop and deliver new brands to market, supporting health and well being, bring together proven science, pioneering technology and habit building to create truly personalised solutions. Recently, the company unveiled two new initiatives to transform wellness through personalised health and nutrition. This includes the launch of consumer brand, Phenology dedicated to women's health, as well as an exclusive partnership with a German startup Inne, working on breakthrough biomarker platform. Thanks for joining me today Ian.

Ian 01:09
Thanks for having me, Ajay.

Ajay 01:11
Let's kick things off with an overview of the current state of the personalised nutrition category. What are some of the trends that you've seen over the past year in personalised nutrition?

Ian 01:19
Yeah, so I think the past year has been really, really interesting. Obviously, with COVID, no one really knew what was happening with the world and how that would impact this particular category. But I think what I've seen in general is that there's been an acceleration around the convergence of a few different factors. One of the frameworks that we within Hollogram use is something we call the three Ds, is how do you look at this industry across things like delivery formats, or new products? How do you look at from a lens of diagnostics? as well as from digital services? And when I think about convergence across that framework, what we see is a lot of companies in the diagnostic space are now trying to figure out how to get into digital, or come up with their own product line. Companies who have their own products are trying to think about digital as a way to drive engagement. They're all looking for that extra piece of the puzzle. And I think with things like diagnostics, particularly at home diagnostics, it's obviously becoming more used and more top of mind, for general consumers accelerating their use of not only COVID testing, but also how can they use other at home diagnostic test to get more types of personalised recommendations. Those type of companies are looking for those additional pieces as well. And so I think the market is coming together very quickly, where consumer will no longer need to jump across multiple brands, to really get a much more holistic value back from a single brand that can look across all those three areas.

Ajay 02:46
Perfect. And that's a great overview to dive into these next questions about the new initiatives from Hologram Sciences. So in terms of the brand Phenology, what is the purpose and importance of this new consumer brand? And how does it add value to the lives of women during menopause?

Ian 03:02
For hologram, we're trying to create a portfolio of brands that are really trying to demonstrate that this holistic offering, as I mentioned, across those three Ds, in terms of new product formats, diagnostics, and digital, can really drive a much more beneficial experience for the end consumer. And if we can demonstrate that those work in the market, you know, then there's a lot of opportunity for other companies to either licence those initiatives or potentially acquire those initiatives. But for Hologram, we're not making one bet, we're making many bets across a relatively diverse area within health and wellness. We have expertise within Hologram between nutrition science, software engineering, marketing, consumer marketing, operations, etc, to really build many, many different initiatives. For us, we started with immunity health. And our second one Phenolgoy, as I mentioned, is really getting into the women's health category, with our initial entry point within perimenopause and menopause. What we try to really think about is, for these new solutions is how do we make them as comprehensive as possible? So when we agreed to look at women's health, it was really about how can we make something that's unique and different? And I think the challenge there is when you think about menopause, it's a typically, it's a very individual journey for someone who's going through this, and that there isn't just a black and white recommendation being provided that's going to give someone assistance. There's various types of symptoms that someone may be going through. And so you have to really think about where are they in their journey? What is important to them and how can you provide them with recommendations, to really help them get through that particular phase? For us we wanted to think about could we bring daily nutritional supplement formulations, and in that case, we created a daily gummy regimen that is an AM and PM and includes options for things like CBD, and that can address things like hot flashes. We also have something like acuity mints for brain fog. We've specially formulated options for skincare. And most importantly, we've built out a really digital experience where we are providing folks with really recommended advice and guidance in terms of understanding where they are in their journey, what should they be thinking about, and what sort of products or services, whether it's supplements or even lifestyle factors can be considered as part of them looking at this much more holistically? And for us, that was really the insight was, these are women who are leaving particularly, say, a doctor's office or a conversation with a practitioner, and they're still a lot of questions. And can we help bridge that gap to providing people with a very comprehensive product and service offering? But really the advice at the core, we're helping people understand what's going on with them individually.

Ajay 05:53
Yeah, it's really amazing and very innovative as well. And going along those lines as well, how does this technology actually work? In terms of, how does it determine what requirements each user would need at each stage? How does it tailor these recommendations for their, ether genetics, lifestyle and environment?

Ian 06:10
Yeah, so it starts with an assessment that can be done online. And that can help make a recommendation in terms of the types of coaching that could be available, as well as product recommendations. And those could be starting off looking at symptom elimination or reduction. But then we can get into more local like active coaching, meaning can we connect someone with a women's health expert, and have a conversation that can be really tailored to their needs? And that, again, is looking not only across products, but lifestyle factors as well, how does things like sleep and stress, play into getting the right sort of plan put in place to help someone get through their day or get through their week? And that is where we start create the beginning of a feedback loop. And the feedback loop is a way for us to monitor how things are going through our digital platform on an ongoing basis. And we can make adjustments based on someone's progress or new symptoms coming up, where these can be adjusted on a weekly basis or monthly basis, as someone who's going through their journey, so that we're constantly giving them advice and adjusting that advice when it's appropriate. And I think that that feedback loop is really where we think we can drive longer term engagement. It's not just about here's the portfolio that we have, it's when to take certain things, how to take them, how to take them in combination with other lifestyle factors and decisions that were being made. I think, finally, is the diagnostic piece, we finally have a way to monitor this, in a very convenient way through the partnership that you talked about, with Inne and Hologram, will have the ability to allow someone in the convenience of their own home to monitor things like progesterone and understand over a higher frequency interval, what is happening in their body? How is that tied to certain symptoms that they may be having? And what sort of recommendations can we make to them that's going to help alleviate some of those symptoms and your concerns? And it's really convenient way you can get feedback in just a few minutes. And we think that that is the way were looking at that data, have you in conversation with a women's health expert. And giving that feedback that's really dynamic, meaning is adjusting as you go, is really the way to give someone help in this area.

Ajay 08:22
Yeah, for sure. And you mentioned the partnership with Inne, I'll just jump to that for a second. And they've actually developed the world's first non invasive fertility monitoring system minilab, would you be able to describe how this novel platform is being used? And also what sort of benefits that can provide users?

Ian 08:41
Yeah, I think again, the idea of at home diagnostics is something that's of high interest for Hologram. When we looked at any, obviously, within the fertility space, it wasn't our immediate focus. But I think what we were really drawn to was the convenience of the mini lab itself. And the idea that through saliva based testing, which, you know, we think is obviously less invasive than blood testing, but gives you a lot more data than saying doing something completely non invasive like survey, can give you a lot of information. And when we had our conversations with the team at Inne and Eirini, the CEO really got a better understanding of the power of the mini lab and its ability to look at not only things like progesterone in the context of fertility, but also in the context of menopause. But how could the mini lab expand into other biomarkers or analytes in the human body that can support Hologram initiatives going forward? And so throughout the partnership, we will expand beyond progesterone into other analytes like cortisol, for example, which obviously can have an impact across a lot of different lifestyle factors. And the thing about the mini lab really being that diagnostic option where it drives that real convenience factor where it just takes a few minutes. It's a quick saliva-based test, and all of a sudden, we have a much more comprehensive view in terms of what's going on inside someone's body to help make that type of recommendation. So exciting new partnership for Hologram. Again, we're just getting started and thinking about any in the context of Phenology and our menopause brand. But it's something where we'll continue to be partnering with them going forward as we think about new initiatives.

Ajay 10:22
Yeah, it's amazing to think of all the potential conditions and stuff you could potentially use this technology for, and getting quality insights as well. I was also wondering along those lines, where do you see technology like this? What role do you see it playing in the next five to 10 years? Where do you see that space of personalised nutrition moving towards?

Ian 10:42
Yeah, so I think obviously, everyone can understand the amount of data that is being generated, whether it's using diagnostics, or having a mobile app, or having a wearable, right. There's no lack of data these days. And the data points that you can be generating as a consumer into these programmes is significant. I think what we'll see in the next five years is really the recommendation that sits on top of that data, right? It's often hard for me understanding and looking at my own data through my phone is where to focus, what types of data is more important versus others? And, you know, it's still relatively reactive, meaning, you know, I am asking questions and getting an answer. I think what we'll see is the shift to smarter services and smarter brands that are using the same amount of data, but really intervening at the right point in time and giving you actionable advice, where meaning, you don't have to be the person who's trying to synthesise your own data. There are services that are doing it for you and doing it in a very helpful manner. I think that's where you'll see this trend is, as you think about personalization, it's not just about personalising, say a product at point of purchase, but how do you continue to personalise recommendations and feedback on an ongoing basis based on the continuous data that's being fed into these platforms. And obviously, things like data ownership, and making sure that we use data in a safe and trustworthy ways is of critical importance. But in terms of, I think, where the industry is heading is that sort of recommendation layer, or that guidance or advice layer sitting on top of the data is really where I think the most amount of value will be seen in the next few years.

Ajay 12:26
Yeah, well, it's clearly a very exciting area to watch out for. Before we wrap things up, do you have any final thoughts that you'd like to share with our listeners?

Ian 12:35
I just think for me, wrapping up our first year as Hologram, you know, as a spin out of Royal DSM. Again, the idea is that we are creating a broad portfolio of these concepts. But what I don't think I really realise is the pace that this market is accelerating in. The bar is rising in terms of consumer expectations, some of them that we just discussed, you know, having a single SKU with a single or, you know, relatively primary retail strategy, I think are days of the past. The next generation of brands will be much more holistic, they will be omnichannel, they'll have the ability to go direct to consumer and provide that level of personalization. I think we're seeing significant investments in new technologies, like Inne and other diagnostics. It's a really exciting time for this space, but it's moving very, very fast. And so, I'm glad that we as Hologram are being a part of that convergence. But I think that is the sort of the takeaway for me and to share with others is that in the trenches is moving a lot faster than I think folks have expected it to be. Part of that could be due to COVID, and the acceleration of some of these new products and services. But I think coming off of that we will see really unique innovations in this space over really the next two to three years, not necessarily the next eight to 10 years.

Ajay 13:55
Amazing. Well, thanks again, Ian for coming on today and sharing all these great insights on personalised nutrition.

Ian 14:01
Thanks, Ajay, appreciate you having me on board.

Ajay 14:03
Thank you also to our listeners for tuning in. If you are interested in learning more about Hologram Sciences or their new initiatives, make sure to check out the hyperlink available in the show notes. And if you like our show, make sure to subscribe, follow the Vitafoods Insights podcast and feel free to also recommend the show that any friends or colleagues you think would like it. Thanks for tuning in and see you soon.

Vitafoods Insights 14:23
Thank you for tuning in. And don't forget to check the show notes that will allow you to link to the information discussed in today's podcast, as well as any sponsorship opportunities. Be sure to stay tuned, subscribe and even suggest to a friend.

 

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