NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Genetic testing firm Color Genomics today launched with a $15 million private financing round and a $249 test for genes associated with breast and ovarian cancer.
Based in Burlingame,Calif., the company said that it has begun offering the Color Test, a clinical-grade, comprehensive genetic sequencing test that analyzes 19 genes, including BRCA1 and BRCA2. Other genes on the panel include BARD1, PTEN, CDH1, and ATM, according to Color Genomics' website.
"Building a high-quality, but affordable test required significant investments in software design, big data, bioinformatics, CLIA compliance, laboratory automation, and genetics," Color Genomics President and Co-founder Othman Laraki said in a statement. "By marrying multiple emerging disciplines, we have developed something many did not think was possible — a high-quality, yet affordable, genetic test for BRCA1, BRCA2, and 17 other key genes."
According to Color Genomics, the $249 price for its test is about one-tenth the cost of other comparable tests. The firm is equipped with Illumina instruments and its laboratory has received a CLIA license in California. The Color Test is ordered by a physician and includes access to a company genetic counselor for no additional charge, the firm said.
In addition to Laraki, the founders of Color Genomics include Elad Gil, Taylor Sittler, and Nish Bhat. Gil is the company's CEO. He was formerly a cancer researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and more recently was a product and strategy executive at Twitter and Google.
Advisors to the company include Mary-Claire King, who is credited with discovering the BRCA1/2 genes, and Tom Walsh, both from the University of Washington, as well as SynapDx CEO Stanley Lapidus.
The firm also launched the Every Woman Program for individuals who want to undergo genetic testing but cannot otherwise afford it. Color Genomics has partnered with cancer centers including those at the University of California, San Francisco and the University of Washington to provide free testing to women who cannot afford the Color Test.
Color Genomics has raised $15 million in a Series A financing round in conjunction with its launch. Khosla Ventures and Formation 8 were the lead investors. Also participating were Emmerson Collective, the investment vehicle of Laurene Powell Jobs, Steve Jobs' widow; Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior; Katie Stanton, VP of global media at Twitter; Eventbrite Co-founder Julia Hartz; Yahoo Co-Founder Jerry Yang; PayPal Co-founder Max Levchin; Dropbox Co-founder Drew Houston; Box Co-founder Aaron Levie; and Ann Mather, a business executive who sits on the boards of various firms including Google and Netflix.
The funding will go toward scaling operations to make genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer more broadly available, a spokesperson for Color Genomics said.