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GATC Forms Consumer Genomics Subsidiary LifeCode; Pitches 'Medical Context' of Service

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Genomic services provider GATC Biotech has jumped into the consumer genomics market with a new subsidiary called LifeCode AG, the company said Tuesday.
LifeCode, which is expected to begin offering DNA sequencing and analysis services to customers in April, will focus on placing an individual’s genomic data in a “medical context,” GATC said.
LifeCode plans to present this information in “a reliable and lucid platform for medial consultation, guaranteeing at the same time the maximum possible level of data security,” the parent company said.
GATC, based in Constanz, Germany, said that LifeCode will be the “first web-based information service for the storage and utilization of biological and medical data from the analysis of genetic codes and protein codes in the EU.”
The company faces competition from a number of other firms that have recently entered the consumer genomics market, including Iceland’s DeCode Genetics and US-based companies such as Navigenics, 23andMe, and Knome.
GATC did not provide details of the type of genomic analysis that LifeCode will provide or the cost of the service.
DeCode and 23andMe, which are offering SNP-genotyping analysis, are charging around $1,000 for their services, while Navigenics is also marketing a genotyping-based service priced at around $2,500.
Knome, which is offering whole-genome sequencing, is charging around $350,000 for its service.
LifeCode plans to deliver a platform “with which each person can record and manage his or her personal biological code,” while placing the customer’s genetic profile into a “scientific and medical context,” GATC said.
The spin-off will be run by GATC’s CEO, Peter Pohl.
“One major concern of LifeCode is to ensure that every customer is able to make an informed decision in respect of biological tests, and that no examinations are undertaken under any incorrect understanding, without explanation and without the customer’s informed agreement,” Pohl said in a statement.