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Nucleus Genomics Acquires Polygenic Risk Score Tool

CHICAGO – Nucleus Genomics has acquired, a formerly open-source software tool for calculating polygenic risk scores from direct-to-consumer genetic tests, for an undisclosed amount. The company has also hired creator Lasse Folkersen as CSO.

" will be selectively integrated in with our existing novel genetic analysis technology, further bolstering the quality and rigor of our analyses," Nucleus Genomics Founder and CEO Kian Sadeghi said in an email. While the purchase does not include any patented technology, Sadeghi said that Nucleus is interested in pursuing a patent once the integration is complete. 

The acquisition happened on the same day that Nucleus announced the closing of a $14 million "seed-plus" funding round. The New York-based startup simultaneously introduced a beta version of a consumer-facing genetic testing software platform that will underpin its strategy to create polygenic risk scores and give individuals control of their genetic data.

The direct-to-consumer data analysis company plans on offering whole-genome sequencing to the public in the future through laboratory partners.

Folkersen led the development of at Sankt Hans Hospital in Roskilde, Denmark, starting in 2015 and was the lead author on a 2020 publication describing the tool.

In a July 14 tweet, Folkersen said that "would have eventually succumbed to the ever increasing regulatory environment in the EU (e.g., IVDR), because running things like that as a one-man operation simply is not feasible in the long run." The European Union's new In Vitro Diagnostics Regulation (IVDR) took effect in May.

"I've learned the hard way that to actually get stuff done, one must have a commercial organization and a flow of money to employ and empower that organization," Folkersen tweeted in the same thread. "My goal is, and always has been, to make genetic information easier to use for the health benefits of regular people, and to lower the barriers to access."