Athletigen sees genetic testing as part of athletic training
Halifax company takes DNA samples of athletes through a swab of spit and maps genetic profiles
A small Halifax-based company is hoping a significant new investment will help them show more athletes how they can cater to their training by examining their genetics.
Athletigen Technologies Inc. announced Tuesday it has raised $2.17 million through a venture capital fund.
The company, established in 2014, takes DNA samples of athletes through a swab of spit and maps their genetic profiles.
Jeremy Koenig, Athletigen's CEO, said science has evolved so that people can learn a lot about their athletic potential through the simple test.
"We're talking about the individual's predispositions for various things," Koenig said. "For example, do I have a higher risk of attaining an Achilles tendon injury? Knowing that ahead of time allows us to mitigate the risk."
Not yet mainstream
Athletigen now consists of a staff of 20, most of whom moved to Nova Scotia to work for the company, including Heather Hamilton.
She was a pole vaulter training in Arizona when her coach suggested the team use the Athletigen test.
Hamilton said her profile revealed she wasn't prone to injuries, but needed more recovery time than she was used to. That caused her to change her competition schedule.
"I experimented with a competition cycle during the year, which gave me a little bit more recovery time to adapt to power training and that seemed to work better for me," Hamilton said.
Athletigen has a team of researchers who use a combination of current studies and their own work to interpret the data.
Hamilton found the science so interesting, she joined the company and moved to Halifax when she retired from competition last year.
She now encourages other athletes to give it a chance.
"You have such a small window to compete and perform at a high level. it's vital to know as much as you possibly can early on," she said. "I don't think it's mainstream yet, but it's definitely going there."