This week population health and genomics company Color became digital health’s latest unicorn after scoring $167 million in Series D funding. General Catalyst led the round with participation from funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates and Viking Global Investors.
The company now boasts of $278 million in financing with a valuation of $1.5 billion.
WHAT IT DOES
Color created a digital infrastructure for public health institutions and initiatives. The company’s model is based on teaming up public health agencies, research institutions, employer organizations, health systems and health stakeholders.
Its clients can access a custom-built software that was designed to integrate with laboratory results and is HIPAA compliant. As part of its services the startup is able to provide genetic testing results for genes associated with an increased risk of common hereditary cancers and high cholesterol.
According to its website, the company is able to share anonymized genetic information with public variant databases. If participants give permission, the system is also able to share the information with research collaborations.
According to the company, the service is able to integrate into physician ordering, and users can get genetic counseling after being tested.
More recently, the company has worked with COVID-19 testing efforts. The company offers not just testing, but also surveillance for population health. It has teamed up with PerkinElmer and the State of California to work on these testing efforts.
WHAT IT’S FOR
The company plans on adding new members to its leadership team and scaling its operation. The company has hired Claire Vo as its next chief product officer, Emily Reuter as its next vice president of strategy and operations and Ashley Chandler as vice president of marketing.
Color previously made headlines when it teamed up with the National Institutes of Health for its All of Us program – a national research project dedicated to collecting data from a diverse population for prevention and treatment of diseases.
The NIH awarded Color $4.6 million in grant funding for providing program participants with findings on ancestry, traits, drug-gene interactions (pharmacogenomics) and genes connected with high-risk diseases.
Public health initiatives that combine genomics are becoming increasingly popular. In Finland, the FinnGen Project, a public-private research partnership, aims to bring 500,000 genomic samples (covering roughly 10% of the Finnish population) together with health records in order to help understand the origins of disease, prioritize drug treatments and come up with new therapies.