Helix debuts online marketplace for personal genomics products

Customers ordering products from Helix's marketplace need only send in one saliva sample, rather than a separate DNA sample for each test.

Personal genomics player Helix has launched an online marketplace for “DNA-powered products,” including a saliva-based carrier test from Sema4 that screens for 67 hereditary conditions.

The platform offers products from a number of Helix’s partners related to areas such as entertainment, family and fitness, as well as the usual suspects, ancestry and health.

In addition to Sema4’s carrier test, the marketplace offers Admera Health’s tests for inherited diabetes and familial cholesterolemia, an inherited cause of high cholesterol. National Geographic’s Geno 2.0 allows customers to discover their ancestral makeup, as well as the migration patterns their ancestors followed.

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Helix has more partnerships in the works, including those with Intelliseq, Mayo Clinic and Invitae. Helix partnered with Invitae in 2016 on genetic testing apps that would show healthy people if they are at risk of developing diseases, specifically inherited forms of cancer and heart disease.

“We are proud to lead the evolution of personal genomics with the launch of the first online marketplace where people can access a vast range of personalized DNA-powered products and insights tailored to every aspect of their lives,” said Helix CEO Robin Thurston, in a statement.

“The Helix platform … [provides] an open platform for emerging and established businesses who can now build or enhance their products with DNA sequenced at our state-of-the-art CLIA- and CAP-accredited lab. The diverse set of partners featured on our marketplace is a testament to the real opportunity for a diverse range of organizations to make genomics accessible and actionable for every person.”

Illumina, Warburg Pincus and Sutter Hill launched Helix in 2015 to provide consumers with low-cost sequencing services for genetic samples brought by third-party partners. It sets itself apart from other personal genomics companies—which require a new DNA sample for each test—by securely storing a customer’s DNA once it has been collected and sequenced. This allows the customer to order more products from the marketplace without needing to give additional DNA samples.

Helix provides its customers access to genetic counseling through Genome Medical, which runs a telemedicine network of genetic counselors and physicians.

“Furthering the understanding of DNA as well as creating a safe and responsible way for our customers to interact with DNA-powered products are central to the success of our marketplace, and partnering with Genome Medical to offer education and counseling to help our customers navigate the genomics landscape helps us achieve both,” Thurston said.