California State Budget Includes $2 Million to Support Clinical WGS

Roche scientist performing a DNA sequencing experiment. (Credit: Roche)

The California State Legislature has approved a budget including $2 million for a pilot project to fund clinical whole genome sequencing as a first line diagnostic test. 

“It’s a proud day to be a Californian,” Dr. Stephen Kingsmore wrote in a LinkedIn post. 

Seven and a half years after taking office and inheriting a $27 billion budget deficit, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed his final state budget on Wednesday.

“Today, the final budget I sign delivers on that pledge and prepares us for the future,” Governor Brown said in a statement.

The pilot project will serve a minimum of 100 Medi-Cal neonatal and pediatric patients with undiagnosed diseases that have either remained undiagnosed, or had multiple incorrect diagnoses. These patients will be tested using cWGS as a first line diagnostic test. 

To provide tight oversight on the project’s progress and patient treatments adjustment, regular reports to the Legislature and the State Department of Health Services will be required. 

The end goal is to demonstrate both the clinical benefits for Medi-Cal patients, as well as financial benefits of the program as a whole. 

“By funding this project and demonstrating the positive outcomes for both patient and program for utilizing clinical whole genome sequencing, California can remain a leader in precision medicine and its related technologies,” politician Brian Maienschein, who is Republican representing the 77th district, and a strong supporter of the project, told Kusi News.