Just a few years ago there were several prominent consumer genomics companies, including 23andMe, Decode, and Navigenics. Due to low uptake, problems with industry image and quality, and regulatory woes the larger players have one by one discontinued pursuing purely personal genomics as their main business. Even 23andMe, the stalwart of the field, has recently begun to look rather pharma-ish with multiple deals to sell its data for drug development.
Illumina recently announced that it was forming a new company called Helix that will operate in the consumer genomics space. The company promises to provide a high level of access for individuals to their genome data by partnering with third party vendors to bring genomic samples to Illumina, with consumers exploring their data through an open marketplace of on-demand applications provided by Illumina’s partners. One of the first announce partners is Laboratory Corporation of America.
This looks to me like a large, reputable firm that has made its name in other aspects of testing and genomics stepping into a void. It appears the venture will bring the concept of consumer access to genomic information to a new level. I’m looking for this space to heat up with more entrants.