Invitae doubles genetic testing menu with cancer, neuromuscular offerings

Invitae CEO and co-founder Randy Scott

Invitae ($NVTA) has been working hard to expand its genetic testing menu, recently achieving its goal of passing the 500-gene mark. Now the company is homing in on its next objective, doubling its testing menu to deliver on its promise of surpassing 1,000 genes by 2016.

The company's new menu includes more than 600 genes and panels for everything from hereditary cancer and cardiovascular disease to neuromuscular disorders. Invitae's cancer testing menu will comprise 41 test panels, building out the company's offerings in breast, pancreatic and gynecologic cancers and adding new tests for common hereditary cancers and gastric cancer, it said in a statement. A neuromuscular menu will include 15 panels, including one for Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophy.

Invitae plans to release new tests between now and the end of the year. Meanwhile, the Bay Area company will continue to flesh out its cancer offerings to include all hereditary cancers by the end of 2015. With new tests and a bigger menu in tow, Invitae is "on target" to reach its previously announced goal of providing more than 1,000 genes for less than $1,000 per indication by mid-2016, the company said in a statement.

"We are proud to now offer many more comprehensive and affordable cancer and cardiology genetic test panels, as well as expanded neuromuscular, pediatric and rare disease test panels, to help clinicians and their patients," Invitae CEO Randy Scott said in a statement. "Importantly, we're delivering on our promise of lowering the cost of genetic testing to ensure cost is not a barrier for patients and to make a positive impact on the otherwise skyrocketing cost of healthcare.

In June, Invitae announced that it would slash prices for its genetic tests, offering its products for $950 to payers who have contracts with the company. Patients who can't afford or who are not eligible for insurance will pay $475 for the tests, while out-of-network and third-party payers will pay $1,500 for the tools.

The move helps Invitae set itself apart in a market packed with rivals. In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court found Myriad Genetics' ($MYGN) DNA patents invalid, opening the door for increased competition among genetic test makers. But Invitae has not wasted any time trying to distinguish itself, raising $102 million in an upsized IPO earlier this year and continuing to build out its genetic testing menu to gain market share.

"From a legal standpoint, the Supreme Court decision to throw out patents on human genes removed a major hurdle," Scott told FierceDiagnostics earlier this year. "Now, it's just a matter of driving and demonstrating the clinical utility, getting in to the payer system and working through the regulatory components. That all can take some time, but we think the barriers have all been largely removed."

- here's Invitae's statement