23andMe’s New Game Plan: What it Means for the Company and for DTC Genetic Testing
Late Friday afternoon, direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing company 23andMe announced a change in its game plan. Currently, 23andMe offers a single product – a $399 genotyping service that provides customers access to information about their genetic ancestry as well as genetic variants linked to certain other traits and diseases, including diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and certain cancers.
Beginning this Thursday, November 19th, that $399 service will be cut in two. Customers will have the option of purchasing a $399 “Ancestry Edition,” which includes 23andMe’s new “Relative Finder” tool or a $429 “Health Edition,” which includes testing for variants associated with genetic diseases and other traits, carrier status and drug response. The complete package will be $499. At Genetic Future, the indefatigable Daniel MacArthur has already covered 23andMe’s announcement and highlighted several of the most salient points.
Today, in three separate commentaries, I analyze 23andMe’s announcement and its implications for the DTC genetic testing industry:
- In “A Fundamental Right to Genetic Information (Now More Expensive Than Before),” I look at the unexpected increase in price of 23andMe’s service and the impact of the company’s new model on its customers’ ability to exercise their “fundamental right” to access their genetic information.
- Next, in “The Open Secret of DTC Medical Genetic Testing,” I explain why separating recreational genetic testing from medical genetic testing is likely to provide 23andMe – and other companies employing the same model, including Pathway Genomics – with important flexibility in dealing with future changes, whether driven by regulatory or market forces.
- Finally, in “DTC Genomic Research: Revolution or Minor Uprising?,” I discuss recent under-the-radar changes made by 23andMe to its pioneering DTC genomics research activities.