Invitae to make certain genetic tests available free of charge

test tubes
Invitae also recently launched a new service model that allows consumers to initiate and order health screening tests and receive genetic guidance through a telemedicine service. (Pixabay)

Genetic testing company Invitae has begun making its screening programs available at no charge for conditions including muscular dystrophy, prostate cancer, cardiomyopathy, arrhythmia and lysosomal storage disorders.

The company is also offering follow-up genetic counseling to help users understand their results as well as the testing of family members of patients with hereditary genetic variants or conditions.

The goal is to address the barriers that keep testing out of reach for patients with insufficient insurance coverage, specifically in areas where early testing may be underutilized in the course of diagnosis and treatment, as well as use in clinical development.

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"Genetic testing can offer tremendous benefits to patients, clinicians and the broader medical community by expediting diagnosis, facilitating earlier interventions, accelerating clinical trial recruitment, and providing real-world data insights into many devastating diseases," Invitae Chief Medical Officer Robert Nussbaum said in a statement

The tests’ costs will be underwritten by sponsors within Invitae’s network, according to the company, which separately lists several biopharma firms as commercial partners, including those developing related products and genetic therapies such as Biogen, BioMarin, MyoKardia, Alnylam and others.

After patients enroll in a testing program through their doctor, sponsors will receive de-identified information and contact information for the clinician, Invitae said. 

RELATED: Sarepta taps Invitae to identify participants for DMD trials

In early June, Invitae launched a new service model that allows consumers to initiate and order health screening tests and receive genetic guidance through a telemedicine service. After ordering the test, users are linked with a clinician to determine its medical appropriateness, the company said. 

Its offerings include proactive testing for genetic risk factors of disease, screening for carriers of gene variations that can be passed on to children and diagnostic tests, including for eligibility for clinical trials, with prices between $250 and $350.

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