Genomics is a fascinating subject and an even more fascinating industry. We have the power to tap into human genes more than ever before. This could help to improve medicinal treatments and even to help fight disease. However, genetic testing is expensive - what are startups doing to help?
Human Genomics: Challenges and Triumphs
Genomics is still, to many people, a touchy subject. Privacy concerns pervade the industry when it comes to actively ‘unlocking’ secrets deep within our cells. However, many innovators will argue that accessing and researching our double helixes may provide relief to billions.
Certainly, investors feel the same way on mass. Records show that the industry is worth at least $108 billion at present. In the past 2-3 years, the genomics sphere has exploded more than ever before.
Gene editing is not only controversial, but it is also costly. While evidence shows that gene therapy and research could help diagnose and treat disease, costs ramp up. For that reason, many ventures and innovators are working to help bring genomics into the mainstream.
There are even unicorns within the genomics sphere - with many more emerging on the horizon. What are they doing to make gene editing and therapy a modern marvel?
Startups Unlocking Secrets
Gene editing and analysis is fascinating simply because it’s a relatively new art. For centuries, we have simply adapted to diseases and conditions. Now, however, some startups believe we could eradicate the nastiest of illnesses altogether.
These ventures include Inscripta, worth at least $492 billion and based in Denver, Colorado. Inscripta’s focus is not so much on tackling specific diseases or conditions but instead developing the best technology. They claimed $150 million at Series E in early 2021.
Freenome, meanwhile, is worth more than $508 million - and homes in on cancer research. With one in three people likely to develop cancer at some point in their lives, fighting it is an ongoing challenge. Freenome, based in San Francisco, develops systems to help detect cancer early through gene therapy.
Grail, also from SF, is another cancer-focused gene research venture. This unicorn is worth more than $1.6 billion at last count. Grail’s focus is on liquid biopsies via blood testing - boasting substantial investment from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Johnson&Johnson.
23andMe is an entirely different type of venture dabbling in genomics. Their service offers a home-based testing kit that helps users determine their health risks. Sending back samples to the SF team, 23andMe users can evaluate how predisposed they are to specific diseases. The company is valued at more than $868 million thus far.
More Secrets to Be Unearthed
It is true that, while genomics is nothing new, we are still at the start of the journey. The ventures listed above offer just a portion of the 2.5k-strong innovator field across the US.
There’s every chance, as an investor or interested third party, you’ll find genetic innovators and startups through databases such as Fundz.
Are we just around the corner from a revolution?