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Stop. Breathe. Repeat. An analysis of the direction of DTC Genomics Field.

Posted Nov 16 2009 10:01pm
I have been railing the last few days so I want to take a step back and examine what exactly is happening in the DTC Genomics space. (By no means an exhaustive list)

Navigenics-Partnering with aconcierge medicine group of Internal Medicine physicians, convincing them to use an unvalidated genome scan to practice predictive medicine. Also using clinical language and inferring that this service can be used as such. Also with the new CEO who used to be a muckety muck at Humana Insurance company.........Hmmmmm, add in the PR hype of partnering withHarvard to Educate the pathology residents about microarray testing without the knowledge of Harvard's Clinical genetics teams.....and you have some pretty nefarious stuff going down here.....in the quiet light of day.

Pathway Genomics-Funded bythePayPal Mafia and the Napster Wunderkidsplit their services into clinical and ancestry. Got grilled at the Institutes of Medicine conference and basically had no good answer for why their service was not the practice of medicine........

23andME-Partnered with anyone they can get their hands on, recently split their service lines into ancestry or clinical OR both......They have had 2 rounds of layoffs, lost one of their founders, moved into the googleplex, have employees leaking info about them online, have cut software engineers and kept the PR/marketing people,pissed off the NYS attorney generaland now changed prices AGAIN

TruGenetics-Couldn't find funding and are in holding pattern........who knows what that means. But they did prompt abrief legal reviewof what would happen if one of the DTC companies goes bankrupt or is sold......Basically, all bets are off and your data will likely be sold off without your consent.

Knome-George Church's vanity plate is still alive and kicking. Partnering with SeqWright and Beijing they are positioned to take care of the rest of the worlds billionaires.......until the price of genome analysis comes plummeting down........

Scientific Match-Still making matches one MHC group at a time.....luckily they don't test for medical conditions.....

DNADirect-Wow!Has Ryan managed to drive under this radar! I am so amazed at what DAN Direct has morphed into. They are in essence a medical practice who also directly competes with generation health on the GBM side. They are also serving as a telegenetics consultation service. In all honesty, DNADirect is the true bellwether here. They have been around since 2004 and have weathered all the shitstorms. Which means, many other companies are likely to follow suit, in a matter of years and at a matter of costs.

DeCode-What was their stock price again???

DNADynasty-Enough Said


There are others, but I think this is a good list to review and think about where they are in the life cycle of direct to consumer genetic testing.

The most interesting of these is DNA Direct. Ryan Phelan started out with a message of:

"You deserve direct access to your genes"

Then became, "We partner with doctors to give you the best care of your genes"

Now is that PLUS, "We help your insurer save money by directing how you pay for your genes"

What has occurred? Well, they saw the law, they also saw that they couldn't survive with just computer science engineers or marketing and PR folk.

Ryan saw that the real growth potential is in caring for people. Why is that important? Because genomic medicine is about medicine and people. Not stock photos and flashy websites.

She is right. I am always amazed by her prescience here.Despite my wailing about here over the years, she has come around to my side....

Will the other companies follow suit? One thing is for sure, Ryan isn't around just because she has raised lots of capital....

The Sherpa Says: I have been here climbing the personalized medicine mountain for a while now. I have seen 'em come and go, but Ryan is a seasoned climber. More of these companies would do better pay attention to her rather than silly price changes....
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