Invitae scores CMS and Blue Shield of California coverage for genetic tests

Invitae CCO Lisa Alderson

Genetic information outfit Invitae secured reimbursement for its testing services from Blue Shield of California and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), moving the company forward on its path toward domestic and international growth.

The San Francisco startup, which spun off from Genomic Health ($GHDX) two years ago, offers an assay of 216 genes comprising 85 genetic disorders and 17 panels focused on hereditary cancers including breast, ovarian, colon and pancreatic. In October, Invitae raked in $120 million in a Series F financing round to beef up its testing infrastructure. The company plans on aggregating its tests for more than 3,000 known inherited conditions into a single assay, providing faster turnaround times than single-gene tests and driving down costs. Invitae previously said that it would offer the aggregated test for under $1,000.

"Securing reimbursement is an important step towards realizing our mission to make genetic testing affordable and accessible for patients," Lisa Alderson, Invitae's chief commercial officer, said in a statement. "Since launching just over a year ago, we have grown our volume rapidly by offering high quality genetic testing at an affordable price for payers."

Along with insurer reimbursement, Invitae also touts a patient-pay option for its test. If a payer denies a claim from physicians, the company will limit the patient out-of-pocket payment to $100, according to Invitae's website.

The recent reimbursement coverage delivers a shot of good news to Invitae as it expands its global footprint and wards off cancer diagnostics competitors. In July, the company partnered with Nanopharmacia, a Mexico-based molecular test provider, to offer its genetic tests to more than 800 oncology healthcare providers in Mexico, Costa Rice and Panama.

Meanwhile, other diagnostics companies continue to forge ahead with their own sequencing-based diagnostic efforts. In March, cancer diagnostics luminary Foundation Medicine ($FMI) revealed plans to raise up to $150 million in a secondary offering to propel domestic and international growth. The company's diagnostic test is designed to run through 236 cancer-related genes to match patients with the best treatment.

- read Invitae's statement

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