Good Start Genetics raises $28M for carrier Dx

Good Start Genetics CEO Don Hardison

Massachusetts' Good Start Genetics has hauled in $28 million in financing, money the company will use to expand its sequencing-based carrier screening technology.

The cash is a loan facility from Capital Royalty, and Good Start CEO Don Hardison said the terms were ideally flexible for Good Start as it works to place its test in more and more clinics around the world.

Good Start's platform is designed to detect the gene mutations in would-be parents that could lead to common disorders like cystic fibrosis and sickle cell disease. The test is targeted at the in vitro fertilization market, and Good Start has been spreading the technology through the U.S.'s roughly 460 IVF centers since launching it in April 2012.

The GoodStart Select screening system can test for all 23 diseases recommended by major medical societies, but unlike other carrier tests on the market, Good Start uses gene sequencing for more accurate results, CEO Don Hardison said.

"All the tests prior to us, almost all were done with an array, looking for specific mutations," Hardison said in an interview with FierceMedicalDevices. "But by sequencing the entire gene, we can report on anything we think is important--about 5 times as many mutations as our competitors."

Good Start's platform can detect all the common disease-causing mutations in addition to rare pathogenic mutations that non-sequencing tests miss, Hardison said.

"That may not happen very often, but to that couple that's trying to get pregnant, these things are critical," he said.

And, so far, the response has been stellar, Hardison said. Good Start has locked in about 30% of the accounts it has targeted, adding more each week, and the company is on track to pull in about $25 million in net revenue in 2013, he said. Hardison figures Good Start will be profitable by year's end, well ahead of schedule.

In addition to scaling up the marketing efforts for its IVF product, Good Start will use some of the funds to port older tests onto a sequencing platform, Hardison said, and the company is investing to develop tests for prenatal and newborn testing, two fast-growing markets.

"We have a fantastic R&D group, and we want to make sure those people are working on new and exciting things," Hardison said. "If it's infertility, great. If not, they're encouraged to think broadly."

- read the announcement

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