A collaborative effort: meet the company empowering personal sequencing
How can consumers learn more about their genome while still having complete control of their data?
Enter Genos, a San Francisco-based startup with big plans to give consumers affordable whole exome sequencing that provides insights now and in the future. We sat down with Genos CEO, Mark Blumling to find out more:
What does Genos offer its customers?
Genos offers a multi-pronged value proposition. Firstly, we are exclusively focused on next generation sequencing, specifically the exome (the most revealing and important part of the genome). Other companies are content to offer a partial snapshot of the genome through SNPs, which are of limited value. We are focused on the type of genomic data that will not only generate insights now, but will also continue to do so in the future. Additionally, Genos provides a set of free, interactive tools to allow users to explore their genome and understand more about what makes them unique – including data visualisation, a browsable map of your genome, and information on conditions and variants.
The second key proposition for Genos is that users explicitly control their data. At no point do we use any data for any purpose without consent. Moreover, we don’t ask for a blanket informed consent where people give up their data to companies with little to no restrictions and companies then use the data for their own financial benefit. We think that Genos participants should have the ability to use their data as they so choose. Their DNA is inherently theirs, not ours.
Finally, Genos has constructed a network of independent genetic counselors who can provide Genos participants additional insights at a preferred rate. These genetic counselors are independent third parties who are able to provide cost-effective genetic counseling to those who need guidance. I personally went through a genetic counseling session with one of the genetic counselors and found it to be an extremely informative experience.
Could you tell us more about the history of Genos?
Genos was incubated within Complete Genomics, which is one of the major sequencing companies in the world that builds next generation sequencing technologies. Although spun out from Complete Genomics, the independent company is ‘technology agnostic’ – meaning it will always use the most cutting-edge sequencing technology available for its users.
Could you tell us more about the background of the Genos team?
I’ve been involved in starting, creating and running companies for the past twenty years, across the healthcare space. I was brought on by our other co-founder, Dr. Clifford Reid, former founder and CEO of Complete Genomics, to help build and lead the Genos team and take it forward as a separate entity.
Our team is very talented, and includes expertise across the healthcare, technology, bioinformatics and consumer space. Mirko Buholzer, formerly at SAP, leads our technical team; Anita Gupta, formerly at athenahealth, leads product development; and Alex Mittendorf leads our business development efforts.
It’s a unique combination of talent, wedded together to bring about a revolutionary change in healthcare.
Where do you see Genos going in the future?
Right now we have a very powerful offering, enabling people to sequence their exome at an affordable price that they can then use for personal exploration. Ultimately, we will layer on additional applications where Genos participants can leverage their data for research and further exploration. We will continue to expand and grow the product and team to meet the needs of our participants – we are very much looking to get feedback from the Genos community.
Learn more about Genos at https://www.genosresearch.com.