HudsonAlpha One of Big 3 in Elective Genetics

Huntsville’s HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is one of three medical institutions that offer programs for elective genomics, providing healthy people a deep dive into their DNA, according to a recent article in STAT, a news site for life sciences.

Customers — usually the affluent and often business executives — are looking to get a jump on any genetically disposed diseases that might crop up in the future, or sometimes they’re exploring their family history.

HudsonAlpha introduced its elective genetics program, called Insight Genome, in 2016, a year before the University of California, San Francisco and two years after the Mayo Clinic’s “soft opening” of its program.

But two other major medical institutions will soon be introducing such programs, reports STAT — Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital.

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Depending on the range of the sequencing ordered — which are more extensive than commercial offerings such as 23andMe — prices range from $250 to $2,950.

Close to 50 adults have each paid $7,000 for whole genome sequencing and interpretation since HudsonAlpha launched its program in 2016, reported STAT.

“I think there’s just more and more interest from patients and families not only because of 23andMe and the like, but because there’s just this understanding that if you can find out information about your health before you become sick, then really our opportunity as physicians to do something to help you is much greater,” said Dr. David Bick, who directs the elective genomics program at HudsonAlpha, speaking to STAT.

In a release in 2017, HudsonAlpha Executive Vice President for Genomic Medicine Howard Jacob said, “This is a single test for all current and future genetic tests that are or will become available. No other screening test offers something for everyone — over a lifetime. There is no other medical test like it.”

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