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Lowest price public DNA testing launched in US

19 July 2009
Appeared in BioNews 517

A venture-backed US start-up company ‘Pathway Genomics' announced its launch last week, and is promising to provide the most comprehensive DNA analysis publicly available; for the lowest price.

With some heavyweight investors such as technology firm ‘Founders Fund' backing them, Pathway, based in San Diego and formed in 2008, is offering consumers ancestry testing for $199 and DNA screening for $249.

Pathway have developed a ‘saliva collection kit' which will provide consumers with confidential information about their risk of developing more than 90 health conditions including several cancers, cardiovascular diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. In addition to details of inherited conditions, Pathway will for the first time be able to indicate risk factors for several drugs using their DNA screening process, and promises to be able to trace ancestry back more than 150,000 years.

Jim Plante, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Pathway Genomics who brings a decade of experience in technology and preventative health to the company has ‘brought together a seasoned group of entrepreneurs and marketing experts to launch Pathway Genomics'. Plante believes ‘it was the right time to put together a service like this. We see our clientele as people very interested in improving health and wellness'.

One of the reasons Pathway is able to provide its services at competitive prices is a government-approved onsite laboratory. State and federal endorsement ensures that the genetic information provided to consumers is confidential, accurate and reliable, and saliva samples never leave the company's grounds.

Pathway's Chief Scientific Officer is Dr David Becker, who is known for his contribution to Alzheimer's research, particularly his 2008 breakthrough discovery of certain gene variants that influence the risk of developing the condition.

‘Evaluating an individual's genetic profile is important, but it only reveals part of a person's health and wellness. The overall picture should also include information about a person's family history and lifestyle,' said Dr Becker. ‘For this reason, we want our consumers to take control of their health by identifying areas in their life that they could change to reduce their risk for developing diseases.'

For an extra fee, Pathway will provide customers and doctors with genetic counselling which will aim to use individuals ‘risk factor profiles' to inform how lifestyle, heredity and genetics combine to influence health.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
More DNA for less
Technology Review |  15 July 2009
Pathway Genomics Brings Together Renowned Team of Entrepreneurs, Scientists, Physicians, and a Government Certified Lab to Offer Personal Genetics Services (press release)
Business Wire |  15 July 2009
Pathway Genomics launches public DNA testing
|  15 July 2009
Start-ups bring genetic tests to the home
Wall Street Journal |  15 July 2009
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