Consumer genomic company Ancestry, which got its start in providing testing for family history, is launching a new product which features next-generation sequencing. The new product aims to help customers gain insights into their health and risk factors.
Called “AncestryHealth powered by Next Generation Sequencing,” the tool can screen for genes associated with breast cancer, heart disease, colon cancer and blood disorders.
The new product, which was developed by Quest Diagnostics, will be on sale for $179. According to the company this product is able to examine more closely a person’s DNA than microarray-based testing technology.
This isn’t the company’s first foray into the health world. In October, it announced that it was rolling out AncestryHealth and announced its first two offerings AncestryHealthCore and AncestryHealth Plus.
WHY IT MATTERS
As patients become more engaged with their health, the company is pitching this as a way for patients to build up awareness about potential future risks.
“With the launch of AncestryHealth powered by NGS, we are helping people have access to more comprehensive data about their genetic risks – and providing support with understanding those risks – at a time when protecting our health is a major concern,” Dr. Ron Park, EVP of health and DNA for Ancestry, said in a statement.
THE LARGER TREND
When it comes to the consumer genomics space, 23andMe has been one of the front-runners for years. In 2017 it became the first company to get FDA clearance to sell its direct-to-consumer genetic test kits that provide information about an individual risk to certain diseases. It also has a history of making major deals. One of its biggest pharma deals came from GlaxoSmithKline, which invested $300 million in the company to gain exclusive access to the company’s DNA database.
However, in January the organization announced that it was laying off 100 employees due to slowing demand for its products. At the time Ancestry was also announcing layoffs.
But this didn’t stop others from jumping into the space. In February, Nebula Genomics, the brainchild of Harvard geneticist George Church, launched, and promised to sequence a customer’s whole genome for $299.
“As the market leader in consumer genomics for more than a decade, we are proud to make an important leap forward in democratizing access to comprehensive genetic health risk detection,” Margo Georgiadis, president and chief executive officer at Ancestry, said in a statement. “We are committed to our long-term vision of helping millions get on the path toward living longer, healthier lives through affordable personalized, preventive health screening in partnership with the healthcare ecosystem.”