With the whole informational overload around the current spread of coronavirus, it’s getting harder to know who and what to trust. Many social media users use momentum to share misleading opinions. Also, companies, including startups, use it for some free PR, saying they have discovered novel treatments or preventive drugs for the new virus and given the actual complexity of the matter and the terminology they use it is hard for not-scientists to understand whether the information is legit.
In an attempt to shed some light over biotech and healthcare matters for everyone willing to be informed, tech startup Bioseek launched its new platform for information and patient-driven conversations earlier than planned.
“With Sanat.io we want to create a credible and trustworthy media platform with understandable articles that equip people with the information they need and educate them on complex matters. For instance, we started working on materials that explain how the immune system works and why taking antibiotics against virus infections is a non-sense,” explains founder Rossen Genchev. He and his team were planning the launch of the platform with its full functionality in June. Yet, given the mass infordemics around the coronavirus spread, they decided to launch it now with limited features and to start publishing relevant content based on credible scientific sources.
In a nutshell, Sanat.io is a patient-oriented information hub. It is fully integrated with BioSeek’s database and technology, allowing users to access validated scientific publications, information about treatments in development, filed patents, financing for different developments, clinical trials, etc. All the articles are written in an easily understandable manner and by a team of three scientists – a biochemist, virologist, and a microbiologist. Since the launch last week, Sanat.io has 75K users. COVID19, of course, is not the only topic developed on Sanat.io – users can find information on many different diseases and conditions – ranging from pregnancy to psychotherapy to cancer and autoimmune diseases.
Building a trustworthy healthcare media
“I think fake news in healthcare is a massive problem, and given the fact that 10% of all Google search inquiries are related to health, there should be fact-checkers specializing on the matter, and sources users can trust,” says Genchev.
Since its launch last week, the platform undergoes constant updates. “What a user can see now is 7-8% of the platform, we will be rolling out next updates in the upcoming months,” explains founder Rossen Genchev. Editorial articles on important health-related subjects, backed by high-impact scientific research, open patient-driven conversations are already available.
The articles are still only in the Bulgarian language (but a right-click and translate in the Chrome-browser works fine). In regards to the situation in Europe, Genchev and the team are also changing the original plan to translate the platform in Chinese, where 75% of Bioseek’s traffic is coming from, later this year, and will now start publishing in Italian (where the biggest coronavirus outbreak is) and English. The team uses Bulgaria as a testing ground for the further expansion of the platform but is also filling an important information gap on the local market, explains the founder.
Bioseek and its Google for health ambition
Sanat.io is one of the projects of the startup Bioseek that develops technologies and software in the life science space. The company has developed a platform for the needs of scientific research in the domain of Life Sciences.
It’s based on a semantic search engine and on a graph database that contains all the information scientists need to support their research efficiently: aggregated and indexed are scientific publications, patents, grants, drugs, diseases, authors, etc. The platform includes cutting-edge analytics visualization tools, an online marketplace, and a fully integrated specialized messenger. In a nutshell, it allows users to browse reliable medical information. For instance, when entering lupus or sclerosis, the user can find genes and enzymes that are related to the disease, or the best universities that research the matter.
This product, which is kind of the b2c business for BioSeek, was rolled out for researchers several months ago. Now the beta for doctors and patients is also available under the brand Sanat.io. The end destination is something like medical Google – a space with as many as possible well-profiled users.
Currently, the startup is selling the same technology for another use case – to reduce the time corporate employees spend in mail communication and searching for files. It already works with several private equities, venture capitals, and asset management firms from the US, and this is how Genchev generates revenues until the life science platforms take off. For the time being, the CEO wants to keep the platform free and open-source.
“From that point on, countless revenue streams are possible,” told us Genchev in an earlier interview. And his investors from Impetus Capital, who backed the venture with €450k last September, agree. “Although we don’t want to monetize directly right now, it’s a billion-dollar market here, and we want to be part of it. The coronavirus crisis is now giving leverage for all healthcare-related businesses,” Genchev adds.