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The Shape of DTC Genomics Things to Come

Direct-to-consumer genetic testing exploded on to the scene a few years ago, but as Malorye Allison writes at Nature Biotechnology, many of those firms have had to reinvent themselves in the wake of waning consumer interest, increased regulatory attention, and other pressures.

Firms like Navigenics and Knome have changed their foci, and in Navigenics' case, been acquired. Navigenics was acquired over the summer by Life Technologies to bolster that company's molecular diagnostics business as Navigenics had begun to work more closely with healthcare groups. Knome, on the other hand, has been segueing into the field of genome interpretation, leveraging its expertise in that arena.

"There has been a shift, and companies are trying to find more nuanced business models," Genomics Law Report's Dan Vorhaus tells Nature Biotechnology. "The pure consumer play, where you sell a SNP test to someone and ask them to pay out of pocket is not making anyone a whole lot of money."

Allison adds that "some remaining companies are experimenting with a variety of business models, but others have left the DTC business entirely, and it's likely the field will look very different even a couple of years down the road."

23andMe, though, is soldiering on. It filed for 510(k) clearance for a handful of its tests this past summer. As Daily Scan's sister publication Pharmacogenomics Report wrote at the time, "despite acquiescing to regulatory oversight, the firm hopes to keep marketing its genomic testing service directly to consumers."

The Scan

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