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Helix Forges Partnerships With Mt. Sinai, National Geographic, ExploraGen; Secures New Investment

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Consumer genomics firm Helix has forged partnerships with National Geographic, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and ExploraGen, which will develop products for Helix's DNA sequencing platform, the company said today.

In addition, Helix has secured an investment of an undisclosed amount from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

"Consumer genomics is an industry that's poised to take off as DNA data becomes more accessible," Noah Knauf, general partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, said in a statement.

National Geographic plans to make its ancestry product, Geno 2.0, available on the Helix platform in November. Mount Sinai is developing a reproductive health product to provide prospective parents with information about their risks of passing on genetic disorders. Individuals will have access to genetic counseling, and will have to obtain a clinician's approval to purchase the app.

"We are strong advocates for consumers having access to their own genomic information for personal education and insights," Eric Schadt, founding director of the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology at Mt. Sinai, said in a statement.

Startup ExploraGen, which is being headed up by former Life Technologies executive Ronnie Andrews, plans to build a variety of apps especially for Helix that will match a consumer's DNA profile to personalized food and drink products. Its first product, Vinome, will be available next year and will pair and deliver wine tailored to a consumer's DNA and taste.

Helix launched last year with $100 million in investment from Illumina, Warburg Pincus, and Sutter Hill Ventures, and partnerships with the Center for Individualized Medicine at the Mayo Clinic and Laboratory Corporation of America. It has since forged partnerships with Good Start Genetics, Duke University, and Invitae.