Good Start Genetics, Amazon partner to market low-cost genetic carrier spit test

In its next move to democratize genomics, Good Start Genetics has launched its saliva-based, next-generation sequencing test for cystic fibrosis and spinal muscular atrophy on Amazon. This comes just three weeks after the company held a general debut for the test.

Good Start Genetics launched the VeriYou test in October as a low-cost NGS test for two disorders. It complements the company's flagship genetic carrier screening platform, GeneVu, which is available via fertility centers. GeneVu is a “comprehensive menu” of tests that screen for known and novel mutations that cause inherited genetic disorders, such as sickle cell disease and fragile X syndrome. The company also markets EmbryVu, a preimplantation genetic screening service that allows couples undergoing in vitro fertilization to work with their care teams to select healthy embryos for the procedure.

Cystic fibrosis and spinal muscular atrophy are two of the most common inherited genetic disorders. And while carrier testing is widely available, too few couples take advantage of screening as they plan their pregnancy, according to a statement. Good Start’s partnership with Amazon--the first between the online retailer and a genetic testing company--will bring the VeriYou test to millions of couples, the company said in the statement.

"By bringing clinical-grade NGS testing to Amazon for $149, we believe we can vastly improve awareness, access, and broaden the adoption of carrier screening for millions of couples starting a family,” said Good Start Genetics CEO Jeffrey Luber, in the statement. “With Amazon's analytics and information engine, we have the opportunity to bring the right test to the right individual at the right time--a key promise of personalized medicine."

VeriYou must be ordered by a physician, which allows the test to avoid FDA oversight as a “direct-to-consumer” DNA test. It is in the same regulatory category as lab tests, such as those for cholesterol.