Personal genomics company Helix launched what it says is the first online marketplace for DNA-powered products that offer insights on ancestry, entertainment, family, fitness, health and nutrition.
Accessible from Helix.com, the marketplace was created in partnership with a disparate group of companies, app makers and healthcare institutions, with inaugural partners including Admera Health, Azumio, DNAFit, Dot One, EverlyWell, Exploragen, Genome Medical, Insitome, Lose It!, National Geographic, Sema4, and Vinome. Also, Helix has a roster of coming-soon partners, and anticipates launching products from additional partners such as Geisinger, HumanCode, Intelliseq, Invitae, Mayo Clinic, Precise.ly, and WellnessFX in 2017.
"Our understanding of how DNA impacts health and wellness is advancing rapidly and we are moving towards an era where insights from your DNA will be essential to how you live and the decisions you make, from the moment you wake up until the minute you go to sleep," Robin Thurston, CEO of Helix, said in a statement. "The Helix marketplace makes this possible by providing an open platform for emerging and established businesses who can now build or enhance their products with DNA sequenced at our state-of-the-art CLIA- and CAP-accredited lab. The diverse set of partners featured on our marketplace is a testament to the real opportunity for a diverse range of organizations to make genomics accessible and actionable for every person."
Unlike other personal genomics companies that require a separate DNA sample for each test they provide, Helix collects and sequences a DNA sample once, and then securely stores and protects a customer's DNA so they can order additional DNA-powered products from the Helix marketplace without providing another saliva sample.
The first purchase requires a saliva collection kit that has a onetime cost of $80. When a customer mails in a saliva sample to Helix's CLIA- and CAP-accredited sequencing lab, their DNA is read with the Exome+ assay — a proprietary Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) assay that sequences all 22,000 protein-coding genes as well as additional information-rich areas identified by Helix's scientific team.
Once the DNA is read, Helix shares only the relevant portion of a customer's DNA data with the partner whose product the customer ordered, all with the express consent of the customer at the time of purchase. The partner then analyzes the data and provides insights directly to the customer. When a customer makes a subsequent purchase on Helix.com, they are only charged for the cost of the DNA-powered product, without any additional saliva kit required.
The Helix marketplace also offers customers access to independent genetic counseling before or after ordering any of their products through Genome Medical, a new genetics medical practice with a telemedicine network of genetic counselors and physicians.
The Helix marketplace is currently only available to U.S. residents.