Newcastle innovation using genomics to personalise prescribing

It is reported that 6–7% of hospital admissions in the UK are due to Adverse Drug Reactions (ADRs), using up vital NHS resources that could be prevented.

Mantara Health offers an innovative test, which allows healthcare professionals to choose the best medication for an individual based on their DNA, minimising negative side effects and improving patient outcomes.

Health Innovation North East North Cumbria (HI NENC) has been supporting the company through the Digital Cluster North of Tyne Programme.

Mantara Health, a Newcastle-based company, specialises in pharmacogenomics (PGx), the study of how an individual’s genes can affect their response to medications. They offer a non-invasive test that uses the DNA in a saliva sample, to determine how that individual may respond to a variety of commonly prescribed medications.

After the sample is collected, it is sent to a laboratory for testing. The laboratory specifically tests for genetic variants in the DNA related to drug metabolism. Based on the results, a personalised report is created that identifies any medications that may pose concerns and those that may require larger or smaller doses according to a person’s metabolism.

The ‘future of healthcare’

Dr Nathan Hudson-Peacock, Non Executive Director at Mantara Health, said: “PGx is really exciting as it is the first time we can use genetic information to completely tailor our prescribing practices to the person in front of us. Personalised medicine is the future of healthcare.”

Mantara Health provides PGx tests that can help to improve treatment plans for various medical conditions, among them the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) by treating high cholesterol. Statins are frequently prescribed to manage high levels of cholesterol, which if left untreated can lead to stroke or heart attack. However, not all individuals metabolise statins effectively and may experience adverse effects. The test would provide healthcare professionals with this information, enabling them to prescribe more effective treatment.

Personalised prescribing for chronic pain

The test can also be used to optimise treatments for people who live with chronic pain. Opioids have been used to treat pain, however it is now understood that it is not an effective way to treat non cancer pain and chronic pain and they only reduce pain for about 10 percent of people in the long term. An issue of overprescribing has been recognised with the North East and North Cumbria being in the 78th highest centile for opioid prescribing in the country. The harms outweigh the benefits and the majority of patients will experience the side effects of taking opioid medication. These can include mood changes, sleep problems, nausea and more. In the long term, there is also the risk of addiction and developing a higher tolerance to the drug.

Mantara’s PGx test determines how likely an individual is to experience the side effects of certain opioids. This information can support GPs and pharmacists in developing personalised care plans that cater to the specific needs of each patient and select the medication that is most effective for the individual. This has the potential to improve health outcomes and quality of life for thousands of patients in our region.

There is also the potential to save money, by minimising the need to treat adverse reactions to common medications and ensuring individuals are on the right prescription in the first instance.

Support from HI NENC

Lara Pearson, Head of Marketing, Mantara Health said: “Mantara Health’s initial outreach to HI NENC in early 2023 marked the beginning of an incredibly supportive partnership. Their guidance has been pivotal in helping us to effectively navigate through various pathways, steer clear of potential pitfalls, and cultivate valuable new relationships.

“HI NENC has acted as a crucial sounding board, providing us with access to essential resources and expert advice on market access. This support has been vital in our efforts to increase awareness of PGx testing, highlighting the impact even small changes can have on a start-up’s trajectory. Collaborating with Iain has significantly streamlined the process of making introductions and forging lasting connections, setting a strong foundation for our future endeavours.

“Our mutual commitment to making innovation accessible and prominent within the NHS, research, and health networks underscores the importance of HI NENC’s role in amplifying this message.”


Iain Taylor, Programme Manager at HI NENC said: “We have been supporting Mantara Health through the North of Tyne Digital Cluster, over the last 12 months. It has been great to work with the team to develop their innovation further.

“In the North East and North Cumbria, we have areas with some of the highest rates of cardiovascular disease in the country, as well as high levels of opioid prescribing. Mantara’s PGx test has the potential to vastly improve outcomes for people in our region by supporting Doctors to personalise prescribing, often for conditions that disproportionately affect those living in the most deprived communities.”

Future plans

The next steps in HI NENC’s collaboration with Mantara Health will focus on promoting the company and the benefits of Pharmacogenomics in prescribing, to our regional NHS Trusts and primary care. By introducing PGx testing into the NHS, doctors and primary care staff would have an additional tool to help prescribe the right medicine at the right time for every patient. This would effectively improve patient outcomes for many and save NHS resources.

HI NENC will continue to support the team in promoting these benefits and assist them with funding opportunities to further develop their innovation.


HI NENC specialises in providing support to NHS, academic or industry innovators across the North East and North Cumbria and is also leading the health tech sector as part of the Digital Cluster North of Tyne Programme for businesses in Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland. This project is delivered in partnership with Innovation SuperNetwork and Dynamo North East and funded by the North of Tyne Combined Authority.


To find out more about Mantara Health, visit their website.

To find out about the support HI NENC can provide your business, please get in touch.