Four years ago today, my two co-founders and I started Genome Medical. It has been an incredible journey so far, and I want to take a moment to share some reflections on what we’ve achieved and where we’re headed.
When Randy Scott, PhD, Robert Green, MD, MPH, and I founded the company in 2016, our mission was straightforward and ambitious: we wanted to bring genetics and genomics to clinical care for patients everywhere.
We knew that genetics was vastly underutilized in day-to-day medical care, that well-established guidelines for genetic testing were not followed, and that a significant number of people carrying clinically actionable genetic variants could change the course of their clinical care, if only they and their medical providers were aware. We also knew that many patients lacked access to genetic services, often waiting for months and having to travel long distances to see a genetic expert.
Our first goal was to overcome these access barriers, by using telemedicine to bring leading genetic experts to patients in the comfort of their own homes. I’m proud to say that we have made major progress in this regard, and our momentum only continues to accelerate.
Touching Many Lives
Today, we are a genetics-focused telemedicine practice serving patients in all 50 states and focused on six specialty areas: cancer, cardiovascular health, reproductive health, pediatrics, pharmacogenomics and proactive health. Our clinical team includes both genetic counselors and medical geneticists who provide virtual genetic health services to hundreds of patients each week.
Those numbers are poised for rapid growth, thanks to our partnerships with health systems like Kaiser Permanente, Renown Health and Shriners Hospitals for Children. Innovative health systems like these, along with insurers like Cigna, a number of regional Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, Priority Health, Multiplan and others who are providing reimbursement for our services, recognize genomic medicine’s potential to improve health and reduce costs. In addition, we work closely with employers, labs and others to help bring genomic care to the individuals they serve. Through these collaborations, our care network now covers almost 70 million lives.
And of course, we are highly appreciative of our world-class investors, whose strategic and financial support helps us bring genomic medicine to increasing numbers of patients every day. Our longtime investors include Canaan Partners, Kaiser Permanente Ventures, Illumina Ventures, Echo Health Ventures, LRV Health, Revelation Partners, HealthInvest Equity Partners, Casdin Capital, Perceptive Advisors and Dreamers Fund.
We would also like to welcome two new partners: Samsung Catalyst Fund and Avestria Ventures. Avestria Ventures brings expertise in women's health. The Samsung partnership provides a means of bringing together consumer digital health technology with genomic data and clinical genetics expertise to transform health care.
Technology Transforms Care
Last fall, we launched our Genome Care Delivery™ technology platform to increase the efficiency with which we provide care. The platform enables both patient engagement and care navigation, first by helping to identify which patients would benefit from genetic services. We then offer care in innovative ways. For example, the platform provides clinical support tools that streamline the preparation for each patient consultation and the post-visit documentation—allowing the clinician to focus on the patient. Our long-term interest is in building technology solutions that support genomics delivery at scale. So rather than a traditional model where every patient is referred to a genetic care specialist, our new Genome Care Navigator™ solution embraces a tech-forward approach to education, assessment and care navigation, with access to genetic counselors and geneticists as needed.
I think I speak for everyone at Genome Medical when I say that the most rewarding part of our work is the stories we hear from patients. I remember a mom who was trying to get to a diagnosis for her three-month-old infant. She was deeply concerned about her child and was going to have to wait for more than a year to see a pediatric geneticist. Then she found Genome Medical, and we were able to provide care in a matter of days. After her appointment, she told us she had this incredible feeling of having someone in her corner taking care of her and her child. That’s what drives me every day—seeing that genetics and genomics can have such profound impact.
Building for the Future
As we look ahead, we see the potential for genomic screening for larger groups of the population and for the population at large. We are actively accelerating this trend by working with innovative health systems to design and deliver population health programs for genetics. Earlier this year, we expanded our team to include leaders from the Geisinger Health System to further advance these initiatives. This same team is also providing strategic advisory services, designed to accelerate program design and launch while helping health systems and research organizations avoid known pitfalls and costly delays in clinical or research roll-out.
One of the accomplishments of which I am most proud is the highly talented team we have assembled. We are building a unique company that is mission-driven, unified behind our goal of democratizing access to genomics-based medicine for all. Our team represents the best of clinical and medical genetics, along with strong technology, product, engineering and commercial expertise. We have about 70 full-time employees, plus more than 50 additional part-time clinicians to serve the growing need we are seeing for our services. I’m incredibly proud of the company we’ve created together.
The challenging times facing our nation solidify our commitment and drive to be a force for good and continue our efforts to break down inequalities in access to health care. I have been inspired by how team members from all levels of our organization have felt empowered to speak up about the social injustices we are seeing. This led to collaboration around specific actions we as a company can take to: improve access to genomic health care in underserved communities; foster diversity in genomic health data; and support societal action that will dismantle systemic racism and actively promote social justice.
In It for Life
Our vision is to serve patients throughout their lives, across the multiple milestones where genetic information can be life-changing: at birth, certainly, but also during the toddler developmental years, and again as individuals approach adulthood and begin thinking about starting a family. And then, when a person reaches the age for adult onset conditions and may also benefit from pharmacogenomics.
Genomics is a lifelong journey. We’ve come a long way in four years, but it’s only just the beginning. As we look to the future, it is our goal to reach hundreds of thousands of patients each year to bring genomics into everyday care. We’re looking forward to the next four years and beyond—serving as a trusted navigator accompanying people every step of the way.