Milestones and Momentum: Celebrating Three Years As We Accelerate Ahead

Posted by Lisa Alderson

As the entire Genome Medical team gathered at our headquarters in South San Francisco last month for a quarterly planning session, I reflected on how far we’ve come in the three years since I helped found this company. What was once an idea to bring genomic-based medicine to patients with need was now a vibrant reality. We had teams collaborating to support multiple large health systems who want to speed up access to genetic counselors and medical geneticists for patients via our telehealth services. I observed the creative and innovative thinking that was going into developing the next improvements to our genomic care delivery platform. And most of all, I felt a shared sense of purpose that -- while we’ve already reached many patients -- we must continue to do more to bring genomic medicine to everyday care. 

I started the company with my co-founders, Dr. Robert Green and Dr. Randy Scott, because I saw first hand the importance of genetics and genomics to improve the quality of health care. Many individuals in my family and my circle of friends have been affected by inheritable conditions: cancer at an early age, an unknown family history of cardiovascular disease and children born with rare genetic disorders. Some were fortunate to have access to the latest advancements in genomics for early detection and informed treatment decisions. But for some, these advancements came too late. 

Across the country, there are simply too few clinicians knowledgeable in this field of medicine to know: (1) which patients would benefit, (2) what test to order, and (3) how to interpret the resulting information to inform clinical treatment decisions. It has been my goal -- rather, my mission -- to democratize genetic care for all so we can better detect disease, select the right course of care and save lives. Genomic-based medicine is the future of how we will deliver more precise, personalized health care. At Genome Medical, we are working to make that future a reality today through more affordable access to clinical genetics specialists and through innovation in service delivery.  

Touching Patients

Genome Medical provides clinical care to patients in all 50 states across six specialty areas:  cancer, cardiovascular disease, pediatric genetics, reproductive health, pharmacogenomics and proactive health. We have seen many patients like Molly who have a known family history of inheritable disease and who have taken an informed approach to managing their health. 

Approximately 11-18% of the population may have a pathogenic variant for a genetic condition that may affect them during their life. I strongly encourage anyone with a history of cancer or cardiovascular disease in the family to seek the medical care of a genetic counselor or medical geneticist. Genetic specialists deeply understand the biology of disease and can determine if genetic testing is needed. If so, they can select the right test from amongst the more than 60,000 genomic tests available and they can navigate to the right course of care following testing.  Armed with this knowledge, Genome Medical guides individuals to more appropriate clinical care to better meet their health needs, such as high-sensitivity cancer screening for those at an elevated risk for cancer which can lead to early detection.  

Another patient had wondered for more than 40 years whether a genetic condition had taken the lives of her two siblings during their childhood. Genome Medical worked with her to review medical records, facilitate testing and ultimately find that her siblings had died of Batten disease. She is a carrier and her children are at risk to be carriers for this condition. This information will help guide their reproductive planning. 

Approximately 90% of the population carries at least one recessive pathogenic variant that doesn’t cause disease but if combined with a similar variant in a partner can result in a devastating condition in their children. This shows the need for carrier screening. Approximately 1 out of every 50 births is affected by genetics.

Another patient carried a BRCA2 variant but never had anyone explain the implications of those results and hadn't shared them with his adult children. Now, with the help of Genome Medical, he understands the cancer risks associated with his BRCA2 variant, the chance that his children may carry this variant as well, and the actions he and his children can take to reduce their cancer risk. 

We are making it easier for patients to access the services of genetic specialists no matter where they live.  We offer convenient online scheduling, insurance billing and low cost patient payment plans.

Expanding Services

We are honored to work with an incredible set of partners, providers, advisors and investors to help advance our mission. The increasing demand for genetic services impacts many. At Genome Medical, we meet that diverse need by partnering with health systems, health plans, self-insured employer organizations, and others in the healthcare delivery system such as labs, to ensure that no matter what a patient's path is, they have access to genetic services to meet their needs. 

We recently closed our Series B financing and are proud to be working with Echo Health Ventures, who led this round of financing, as well as new investor LRVHealth.  Both bring expertise around engaging with payors and providers. We also brought in leading genomics and healthcare investors, like Casdin Capital and Perceptive Advisors, and new vision-focused investment groups, like Dreamers Fund and Manatt Venture Fund. I’d also like to acknowledge and thank our existing investors, all of whom participated in this financing, including Canaan Partners, Illumina Ventures, GE Ventures, Kaiser Permanente Ventures and HealthInvest Equity Partners. Their ongoing support -- financially and in thought leadership -- has helped shape our organization into what it is today. 

This broad, diverse set of support demonstrates that genomics is one of the most exciting advancements in healthcare today, and our approach is delivering value to providers and patients all around the country. Genomics in the clinical setting has tremendous promise for improved health and well-being through more precise diagnosis, greater risk awareness and more personalized treatment plans. 

Just look at the recent news headlines about major investments and research initiatives into genomics and precision medicine from the likes of Mount Sinai, the University of California, Intermountain Healthcare and the New York Genome Center. The growth in the genomics sector is extraordinary. 

But, at the same time, there is a nationwide shortage of genetic specialists that makes it impossible for the majority of patients and providers to take advantage of appropriate genetic tests and data. Genome Medical is working hard every day to change this. Our team is dedicated to ensuring the lifelong journey of genomic medicine becomes accessible to everyone.

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Have questions about how your genetics may impact your health or the health of a family member? Genome Medical is now accepting new patients.

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