Reimagining medicine - Interview with Dominik Burziwoda, CEO of Perfood GmbH
1. Mr Burziwoda, how did the idea for Perfood come about?
The core of the idea behind Perfood was new scientific findings on the fact that people react completely individually to food. This becomes particularly clear when looking at the blood sugar response after a meal. Numerous diseases are related to glucose metabolism. Approximately 3.2 billion people worldwide are affected by them. Before Perfood was founded, there were no conservative medically-based therapy options to treat these diseases. Digital therapies offer a unique opportunity to help many people.
2. You now offer various products. How did it all start?
Perfood develops digital therapies and weight management solutions with personalised nutrition as the "active ingredient". With MillionFriends, we had initially launched a weight management product. We have been developing our technology for several years, taking into account the specificities of patients with different diseases. This resulted in sinCephalea, our first medical product for the therapy of migraine: SinCephalea. Further therapy products are in development or clinical validation. It is therefore worth subscribing to one of our newsletters, following our social media channels or regularly visiting our websites.
3. What difficulties have you encountered/what hurdles have had to be overcome?
First of all, these are natural technical challenges. The development of the software and the mathematics behind the evaluation of blood glucose responses is very complex and requires a lot of development and validation. We are very proud that our products are very effective in helping people and the reason for this is our innovative technology. In addition, there are of course challenges with any start-up, such as raising capital, extreme bureaucracy and scepticism about innovation. These are things that every founder experiences, regardless of the start-up idea.
4. What is behind the product?
That's a trade secret ???? Seriously, we use data from various sources, from our app, such as on nutrition, medication, well-being, an extensive medical history as well as wearables. Our digital therapies are clinically evaluated in several studies before they go to market. We publish the results of these studies in scientific journals.
5. What can consumers expect from using Perfood products? What are the benefits of the technology you use?
Our products are always tailored to the specific purpose. For users of our weight management solutions (www.millionfriends.de), this means that they receive individualised nutrition recommendations which help to improve their body weight.
We are constantly expanding our app with additional coaching content so that these individual dietary recommendations and other aspects that lay the foundation for a healthy lifestyle can be easily integrated into the daily lives of our users.
In our digital therapy products, the coaching elements are expanded to include disease-specific content. In this way, we offer people who suffer from migraine, for example, an effective conservative therapy that has no undesirable side effects and can still be very effective.
6. What are the goals of the consumers who want to use the products?
Our MillionFriends users are primarily interested in improving their body weight. However, many also participate because the personalised nutrition helps them to become more efficient and fit and improves their general well-being. The users of sinCephalea, our medical product for the treatment of migraine, are primarily looking for an alternative to medicines that they would otherwise have to take permanently due to the chronicity of the disease and which can lead to significant side effects.
7. Is there evidence that these consumer goals/demands are changing? Is it possible to identify certain trends here? And if so, how agile can Perfood be in responding to these developments?
In the medical sector, consumers are becoming more and more demanding. The user experience of a treatment comes from a world where patients did not make demands. They go to the doctor, who diagnoses, prescribes a medicine. At the pharmacy, the pharmacist illegibly scribbles the recommended dosage, sometimes a contradiction to the doctor's, on the package and than the consumer already donesn't really know what to do at home. They have numerous questions, such as "what am I allowed to eat? Am I allowed to do sports? If so, how strenuous can it be? When can I go back to work? When will the disease really be gone?" You don't want to annoy anyone with these questions, but you are looking for answers. And rightly so. You pay high amounts of fees for your health insurance. Digital therapy products can close a gap and become a companion through therapy. Patients expect a user experience like they are used to from excellent digital products such as streaming services, social networks and online shops. At Perfood, we are adapting to this, which is why we are focusing on product design, content and user experience, building on our innovative and unique basic technologies. It's about developing products that are effective and medically based on the one hand, and fun for the users on the other.
8. What does the product portfolio currently look like? What has changed since the initial product?
In addition to our product for weight management, MillionFriends, and our therapy product for migraine, sinCephalea, a product for the therapy of diabetes mellitus type 2 will soon be available. We also have other products in development, including a product for the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition that affects a large number of women and can be very distressing, and a product for psoriasis in development. We are researching two other indications together with consortia consisting of leading universities and research institutions. In addition, we are currently working hard on the internationalisation of our products.
9. What will happen in the future? How do you see the topic of personalised nutrition evolving and how will Perfood keep up with it?
"Personalised nutrition is a complex issue. People have always personalised because everyone has individual preferences. Halal or kosher, vegetarian or vegan diets are personalised, but not according to individual health aspects, but according to worldview. Perfood personalises nutrition to modulate specific biochemical processes. Currently, this is blood sugar. We may modulate other processes via personalised nutrition in the future. However, it is possible that recommendations on exercise or stress management, as they are also useful for modulating biochemical processes in a beneficial way, will be added. "Personalised nutrition is a tool to make people healthier and increase their well-being. We believe there are many ways to help people achieve better health and well-being, but nutrition is the most promising lever for us. That's why we continue to research how to provide our users with the best nutrition for their individual needs.
Would you like to learn more about Perfood and personalised nutrition, then visit our NEWTRITION X. Innovation Summit Personalised Nutrition on 12 October 2021 at Anuga in Cologne. Perfood GmbH, Garmin Health, Get Nourished and many more will be there. Secure your ticket now at foodregio.de/en/newtritionx.
Click here to access the German version.