Helix, a company that wants to act like an “app store” of your genetic code, just landed another partner that will build one of the first apps on the platform.
The startup launched August 2015 with $100 million in funding from Illumina and other partners.
Every time you do a DNA test, parts of your same genes are just getting sequenced again and again. Helix wants to cut out that physical step.
Instead of sending your spit 10 different places for 10 different tests, you could just let companies access your genetic code. That way, companies could just develop the apps that analyze your DNA to give you the insights you’re looking for (where does your family come from, or do you have a mutation that predisposes you to a certain cancer) without the cost of developing a lab.
When Helix got started last year, the team announced that partners including Mayo Clinic, Duke University, Lab Corp, and GoodStart Genetics would be building out tests for the Helix platform.
Now, Invitae, a company that’s been in the genetic testing space for the last six years, wants to get in on the platform too. It’s developing health tests that will look at common genetic risk factors, something its CEO says could be useful for generally healthy individuals. (Its standard tests, which Invitae runs on its own platform, are mainly targeted at people at high risk for certain heart conditions, genetic diseases, or cancers.)
“We’re taking all of this very sophisticated technology that we built for the mainstream, high-risk diagnostic market,” Invitae’s CEO Randy Scott told Business Insider. “But[using the Helix platform] … a healthy individual can get a low-cost scan where we can at least pick up the most common, actionable mutations for cancer and cardiovascular disease and provide that information to patients.”
The tests will still have to go through your physician, and will likely cost less than $200, Scott said.