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Navigenics Lowers Health Compass Price to $1K


By Turna Ray

Navigenics has reduced the price of its comprehensive genetic screening service by 60 percent.

The personal genomics firm posted notice of the price drop — from $2,500 to $999 — to customers this week on its blog, The Navigator.

A thousand dollars buys customers a year subscription to Navigenics' Health Compass testing services, which includes genetic risk data for 28 diseases and conditions; unlimited genetic counseling; and updates to risk scores as new gene associations and diseases are added to the service.

Navigenics launched Health Compass in 2007. The company conducts its genetic risk scans using Affymetrix arrays. Navigenics took over ownership of Affy's CLIA lab earlier this year [see PGx Reporter 03-18-2009].

Earlier this year, Navigenics launched a pared down version of its service, Annual Insight, that costs $499 and provides individuals with information about their genetic predisposition for 10 common health conditions, including breast, colon, and prostate cancer, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, type 2 diabetes, glaucoma, heart attack, macular degeneration, and osteoarthritis. The company markets this version of its service to doctors, aiming to drive the integration of genomic information into people's yearly medical checkups [see PGx Reporter 02-04-2009].

Since direct-to-consumer personal genomics firms began attracting the public's attention — and the ire of health regulators — in 2007 with the launch of Google-backed 23andMe, Navigenics, and Decode's DecodeMe, advances in SNP-chip technology and sequencing have driven down the price of these services.

Another motivating factor for DTC consumer genomics firms to lower their prices is the fact that critics of the burgeoning industry have voiced concerns about the lack of clinical utility data associated with genetic risk information and questioned whether these companies are offering customers any real value for the high price of genetic scans.

Last year, 23andMe lowered the cost of its service from $999 to $399, citing technological advancements in the Illumina platform [see PGx Reporter 09-12-2008].

DecodeMe, which also uses Illumina chips in its gene scans, has priced its full service, providing the genetic risk for 42 conditions at $985. The DecodeMe Cancer Scan, which provides the genetic risk for seven cancers, including breast cancer and prostate cancer, costs $225. The DecodeMe Cardio Scan, testing for the genetic predisposition to cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and atrial fibrillation, costs $195.

Earlier this week, a new DTC genetic testing firm called Pathway Genomics launched a genotyping-based health assessment service for under $250. The company claims that its service measures risk markers for more than 90 diseases, including breast cancer, cardiovascular diseases, prostate cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and diabetes.

The San Diego, Calif.-based company said that its on-site lab has been certified by California regulators and has received CLIA clearance.

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