Biology + Technology = Chronomics and a bioinfrastructure future

Chronomics was founded in 2017, by five friends from scientific and technological backgrounds. Our goal was, and continues to be, to analyse biological samples and give you actionable information to help you make decisions - about anything where knowing more about the unseen is important. This could relate to your personal health and wellbeing; the cleanliness of your environment, or any number of factors that affect how you live and work.

We’re not a biology company, or even a bioengineering or biotech company. We’re a business that’s using biomarkers - quantifiable information taken from the analysis of molecules - alongside technology to democratise the use of science and data to improve people’s lives.

Born in Cambridge, founded in… South America?

The process of biological ageing, health and wellbeing and disease prevention has fascinated science for generations. It was this same intrigue – specifically the important role of biomarkers within it – that prompted our five co-founders to establish the business in 2017.

The company began in the unlikely surroundings of Peru when two friends from Cambridge University – Tom Stubbs and Toby Call – met soon-to-be Commercial Lead Charles Ball and future Chief Technology Officer Rob Thompson (complete with motorbike and leather trousers) while they were all travelling.

Their mutual interest in establishing a start-up organisation that could bring about positive change for both biological science and technology led them to draw up papers to launch the business a few years later, at the end of 2017, along with another Cambridge alumni (and future Chief Science Officer) Daniel Martin Herranz. This all went to plan, despite Tom spending days in a remote part of the Andes mountain range in South America trying to get enough signal to give it all the green light…

Life as a start-up: Investments, boats, sofas and setbacks

After securing enough initial investment to get things off the ground, our research developed a handful of novel biomarkers that could be used for a range of purposes – from human and animal health, including pets and livestock, to lifestyle decision-making. All of this went into our Chronomics testing kits that we could begin to introduce to the public and businesses alike.

However, not all of the early progress was smooth sailing, especially how we drove initial sales of our flagship product – an epigenetic test looking at biological age. Every day would start at 6am outside various stations, leafleting and standing with placards trying to explain epigenetics to beleaguered commuters. Days would then end with pitches to literally hundreds of investors to secure the necessary funding to stay afloat (particularly apt for Toby, who was forced to live on a boat, while Tom sofa-surfed to save on overheads).

Our team plotted a course through several iterations of our product, working closely with customers on what they liked and didn’t like about the technology platform, the tests and the interpretation of their results. By late 2019, we had a test and an online dashboard we were proud of and a consumer group that was growing day by day, week by week.

Biotechnology hits the headlines - for all the wrong reasons

But then, in March 2020, an already bumpy journey hit some seriously rough waters.

The onset of the global pandemic hit everyone hard, including us. But, in a rapidly changing environment where biological testing became part of our everyday, at Chronomics we were able to use our expertise to become a central part of the fight against COVID-19. We developed scientifically validated diagnostic and antibody testing kits, including Europe’s first saliva test coronavirus, and secured UK Government recognition as an approved testing partner. We’ve since developed a testing platform that is helping re-open travel for thousands of people, entering into partnerships with some of Europe’s sector leaders – from airlines to travel agencies in 2021.

Chronomics: The future

These products, along with our epigenetics suite, are just the first steps towards our goal of creating a truly ubiquitous technology platform that links the biological and digital worlds. We want to drive a revolution so that people can be proactive in controlling their own future and their contributions to the future of humanity through biological data and discoveries about themselves, their surroundings or their livelihoods. And this revolution is for everyone - it’s not about those who are rich enough to be able to afford it, or unwell enough to need it. We believe biology, and how we use it in our day-to-day lives, can drive human progress in the same way digital developments have transformed our world in the last 30 years.

If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that rapid development and collaborative innovation in biological science is crucial for humans to survive and thrive. At Chronomics, we’re at the forefront of this revolution.