Ancestry Swerves into 23andMe’s Lane With DNA Health Tests: Brainstorm Health
Good afternoon, readers.
Just in time for the holidays—the most lucrative time of year for at-home DNA testing firms—Ancestry is stepping up its rivalry with 23andMe.
On Tuesday, Ancestry announced that it’s expanding its genealogy-oriented, consumer genomic testing business into the DNA health test sphere.
The details are still a bit sparse. Here’s what the company said in a release: “AncestryHealth is launching with two new services. AncestryHealth Core, a one-time, array-based service, and AncestryHealth Plus, a membership service using next generation sequencing (NGS) technology, to help people start on the path toward better health for themselves and their families.” These would reportedly encompass hereditary health risks for diseases like certain cancers and heart disease.
Now, there’s still a key difference between the new services Ancestry will provide and 23andMe’s health test products: Ancestry has a different process of selling to consumers. It’s the difference between “direct-to-consumer” sales versus “laboratory developed tests”; while both companies can sell their products to consumers, in Ancestry’s case, the process “includes filling out a health history questionnaire” before “an independent group of board-certified physicians and genetic counselors review the answers and, if approved, order the health test and review results when they are ready.” The specific type of DNA testing technology that Ancestry will use will also differ from what 23andMe offers, according to Wired.
23andMe, which has more than 10 million customers and has been cleared by the FDA to sell its own DNA-based health reports for a range of conditions directly to consumers (no docs involved) is prepping for its lucrative holiday season—including through a new store in a Silicon Valley mall.
Read on for the day’s news.
Correction: A previous version of this post states that Ancestry cannot sell these new tests directly to consumers—Ancestry can sell direct to consumers, albeit in a different process from 23andMe, and we’ve updated the post to reflect the clarification.
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