Color secures $167M to expand from COVID-19 testing into vaccine delivery

Vaccine
"We are building the rails for a national technology-based public health infrastructure," Color CEO Othman Laraki said. (Getty Images)(Getty / E+ / Geber86)

After gathering multiple emergency authorizations from the FDA last year for COVID-19 testing and self-sampling kits, Color has now raised $167 million in venture capital financing to help scale up its work to larger populations—and expand into the next phase of the pandemic by supporting digital vaccine logistics.

The series D round more than doubles the amount of funds raised over the company’s lifetime, bringing its total up to $278 million since its 2015 founding and pushing its valuation to $1.5 billion, according to the company. It was led by General Catalyst, as well as funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, plus additional participation from Viking Global Investors and other firms.

In a pre-pandemic world, Color’s main goal was to provide whole genome sequencing and telehealth counseling services to patients as well as the broader public workforce, through programs led by large employers. This includes efforts such as the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us genetic research study, which aims to sequence the DNA of one million people.

Now, Color’s software platform helps to manage California’s coronavirus testing efforts, and the company works with diagnostic manufacturer PerkinElmer to process up to 150,000 samples per day, alongside partnerships with San Francisco’s city government.

Going forward, the Bay Area company plans to roll out vaccine delivery systems through its established testing networks, to state and local authorities, academic institutions and employers.

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"We are building the rails for a national technology-based public health infrastructure," Color CEO Othman Laraki said in a statement. "The inability to deliver basic healthcare services during the biggest health crisis of our lifetime is a direct consequence of the lack of a public health delivery model.”

“Public health does not only mean a government-funded model,” Laraki said. “A modern public health infrastructure should enable all of the stakeholders in the health of large populations—including governments, employers and schools—to support the essential health needs of the people they serve."

Alongside the new financing, Color also announced a slate of new leadership appointments: Claire Vo, formerly chief product officer at the web design company Optimizely, will be Color’s new chief product officer; Uber’s former head of investor relations, Emily Reuter, joined as VP of strategy and operations; and Ashley Chandler was named VP of marketing, after serving as marketing head for the financial services firm Stripe.

RELATED: Color's coronavirus self-test authorized to help reduce healthcare worker exposure

"This is an important moment for Color," Chief Commercial Officer Caroline Savello said. "We already have incredible reach and impact, serving millions across the country this past year alone. The public health crisis in 2020 underscored the urgent need to make healthcare services convenient and cost-effective for every community. Color is building the technology framework that enables millions of people to access these essential services outside of the traditional health systems."