8th July 2019
Veritas Genetics cuts price of whole genome sequencing by 40% to $600
Veritas Genetics made headlines in 2016 by breaking the $1,000 barrier for whole genome sequencing (WGS). Now, the company is set to disrupt the genetic testing industry once again, by dropping the price of "myGenome" from $999 to $599.
In recent years, companies such as 23andMe have marketed genotyping tests that are less expensive. However, these return limited information, as they are only a partial sequence. By contrast, whole genome sequencing looks at all 6.4 billion letters of the human genome – a 200-fold improvement that greatly increases actionable discoveries. In other words, more information can be gleaned about a consumer's genetic risk for disease, allowing them to take decisions that may improve their health and life expectancy.
"I’ve said that whole genome sequencing will replace all other genetic tests, because it is all genetic tests and much more. Now, we're closer to realising that seismic shift," said George Church, Veritas Co-founder and genomics pioneer.
Veritas achieved this latest milestone with machine learning and AI tools developed in-house, as well as external tools – including Google's DeepVariant – and by improving its general lab operations.
To date, Veritas has only fully sequenced about 5,000 genomes, but this new consumer price point will raise that number to 20,000 in 2020, and more than 175,000 by 2021, according to the company. Further cost reductions could mean a whole genome sequence test for under $100 by 2022. And the more genomes are sequenced, the more cutting-edge scientific insights can be provided to individuals (and their physicians) over their lifetime.
"We see a future where consumers regularly receive new insights from their genome in a 'subscription' type of model. Today, we're taking a big step toward achieving that vision," said Mirza Cifric, Veritas Co-founder and CEO.
"This is the inflection point," said Rodrigo Martinez, chief marketing and design officer at Veritas. "This is the point where the curve turns upward. You reach a critical mass when you are able to provide a product that gives value at a specific price point. This is the beginning of that. That’s why it's seismic."