Posted on Tuesday, Dec 5th 2017
According to a recent report from Research and Markets, the global genetic testing market is estimated to grow from $4.6 billion in 2017 to $5.8 billion in 2022 at a CAGR of 11.7% driven by aging global population, rising incidences of genetic and hereditary diseases, growing awareness, technological advancements and rise in application of genetic testing for early detection of various diseases. A major player and Billion Dollar Unicorn in this market is 23andMe.
Mountain View, California-based 23andMe was founded in 2006 by Chief Executive Anne Wojcicki, Linda Avey, and Paul Cusenza to help people access and benefit from human genome. It first introduced a service that allowed people to get their saliva samples analyzed for genetic markers that influence disease risk and medication response. People could also use the service to know about their ancestry.
The company was stuck in a complex web of regulations which culminated in the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordering the company to stop selling its personal genomics health tests in 2013.
In 2015, FDA granted it authorization to market its direct-to-consumer genetic tests that could determine if the consumer carries a genetic variant for Bloom syndrome, a rare disorder which can lead to increased cancer risk. In another positive movement, the FDA in April 2017 gave its approval to provide consumers with risk analysis for 10 genetic diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The company announced recently that it has partnered with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research to establish a cohort of patients to participate in research related to Parkinson’s disease.
Today, 23andMe offers two Personal Genetic Services: Ancestry which costs $99 and Health + Ancestry that costs $199 and offers insights on genetic health risks, carrier status, traits, wellness, and ancestry. Both services require submitting a saliva sample using its saliva collection kit that can be sent to the lab for analysis. The company then analyzes, compiles, and distills the information into reports that can be accessed online and shared with family and friends.
Its competitors include Good Start Genetics, Counsyl, Color Genomics, and Ancestry.com.
23andMe is reported to have sold more than 2 million units till now. The company is privately held and does not disclose the details of its financials.
It is venture funded and has raised $491 million so far from investors including Altimeter Capital, Casdin Capital, DST Global, Euclidean Capital, EquityZen, Fidelity Management, Genentech, Google Ventures, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JJDC, MPM Capital, National Institutes of Health, New Enterprise Associates, Roche Venture Fund, Sequoia Capital, SharesPost Investment Management, Stephens Investment Management, Sergey Brin, Wallenberg Foundation, WuXi Healthcare Ventures, Illumina, GV, Xfund, Anne Wojcicki, and Yuri Milner. It raised $250 million in September 2017 at an estimated valuation of $1.75 billion. In an earlier round in July 2015, it had raised $115 million at a valuation of $1.1 billion.
More investigation and analysis of Unicorn companies can be found in my latest Entrepreneur Journeys book, Billion Dollar Unicorns. The term Unicorn was coined in a TechCrunch article by Aileen Lee of Cowboy Ventures.
This segment is a part in the series : Billion Dollar Unicorns
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