Ancestry launches health genomics products under AncestryHealth

Consumers can have tests ordered by a doctor that offer insights about genetic differences and risks.
By Laura Lovett
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Ancestry, a consumer genomic testing company focused on family history, is now turning to the health space with its launch of AncestryHealth. The new product is aimed at giving customers insights into the health risks associated with their genes and family history.

As part of the new services customers can get tests that are ordered by doctors. The service will also provide education resources and genetic counseling, as well as a printable consumer report outlining their risk factors. 

The company is offering two products: AncestryHealth Core and AncestryHealth Plus. The Core product will test for genetic differences and deliver personalized reports to heart disease, hereditary cancers and blood-related disorders. Plus also includes information about heart disease, cancer and disorders related to blood, nervous system and connective tissues.  

This isn’t the first time that Ancestry dabbled in the health space. In 2015 the company launched a separate website, AncestryHealth.com, in beta. The site allowed users to make a copy of their family tree and add health information, chronic condition and lifestyle choices that affected each family member. The beta version used an algorithm to show a user what this could mean for their health. However, following that beta the company has been largely quiet about health until this announcement. 

WHY IT MATTERS 

Genomics are a hot topic in healthcare. Clinicians are more frequently using genomics in care. But it isn’t just professionals looking to genomics. As patients increasingly become consumers of healthcare, over-the-counter genomics tests have become a popular trend. This entrance signals that more and more companies are now seeing an opportunity in the space. 

“Genetics play an important role in your health, along with factors such as your family’s health history, lifestyle and diet,” Catherine Ball, chief scientific officer at Ancestry, said in a statement. “Our job is to make sure our customers are educated, informed and supported throughout their health journey with us. Empowered with the right information, they can take proactive steps now to manage their and their families’ health for years to come.”

THE LARGER TREND

Ancestry is a relatively late entry to the consumer genomics health space. One of the biggest advances here came when 23andMe got the FDA nod for direct-to-consumer genetic tests. Partnerships with pharma have become increasingly popular, notably with GlaxoSmithKline investing $300 million in 23andMe to gain access to the company's genetic testing.  

Meanwhile in May, MyHeritage, an Israeli focused ancestry-related genetic testing company, announced a health-focused consumer DNA testing product.