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Ancestry launched a new next-generation sequencing tool


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Ancestry launched a new next-generation sequencing tool

Ancestry launched a new next-generation sequencing tool — part of its play to roll out more healthcare-specific products.Ancestry’s latest healthcare move could help it land partnerships with research institutions or big pharma companies.Insider Intelligence publishes hundreds of insights, charts, and forecasts on the Digital Health industry with the Digital Health Briefing. You can learn more…

Ancestry launched a new next-generation sequencing tool
  • Ancestry launched a new next-generation sequencing tool — part of its play to roll out more healthcare-specific products.
  • Ancestry’s latest healthcare move could help it land partnerships with research institutions or big pharma companies.

Ancestry launched a new next-generation sequencing (NGS) product — dubbed AncestryHealth powered by Next Generation Sequencing — that’ll screen users for genes associated with breast cancer, heart disease, colon cancer, and blood disorders. The service was developed by Quest Diagnostics and will sell for $179. For context, this NGS tech can examine harder-to-sequence variants of the human genome than traditional microarray tech.

global consumer appetite for genetic testing ballooned in the late 2010s

Ancestry launched a new next-generation sequencing product.

Business Insider Intelligence


Consumer interest in direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing is dwindling — so it’s a smart bet for companies like Ancestry to dig deeper into the healthcare realm. Genetic testing firms were struggling to sustain consumer interest in their DTC testing kits prior to the pandemic, with Illumina hinting at “unanticipated market softness” in 2019, for instance.

Now, consumers are spending less on nonessential items — so, the hefty price tags of DTC genetic tests will likely drive consumers further away from these products. Ancestry’s move to develop a tool that can provide better actionable health insights is a next natural step for the company to attract a broader range of consumers, especially since the pandemic has motivated more US individuals to take better control over their health.

This isn’t Ancestry’s first foray into healthcare: Last year, it rolled out AncestryHealth offerings, which enable physicians to order tests that let consumers learn more about their genetic family history and risk factors. These healthcare-specific genetic tests could help patients cut back on the meteoric costs associated with chronic illness by allowing for earlier intervention: Chronic conditions comprise 90% or more of the US’ annual $3.7 trillion in healthcare spending.  

We wouldn’t be surprised if Ancestry’s latest healthcare move helps it land partnerships with research institutions or big pharma companies. We’ve already witnessed other genetic testing companies grant healthcare institutions access to their testing infrastructure and troves of data through big-name partnerships: In 2019, for example, Color landed a partnership with the NIH’s All of Us Research initiative to provide genetic testing, counseling, and health information to participants. And genetic testing startup 23andMe scored a deal with British pharma company GlaxoSmithKline in 2018 that allowed the pharma company to leverage genetic data for research with 23andMe consumers’ consent.

Although Ancestry hasn’t landed a tie-up with a massive pharma company yet, we think one is on the horizon: The pandemic has delayed 2 in 3 clinical trials — and accessing genetic data should help pharma companies speed up an already lengthy and expensive drug development process. 

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