Sean George, CEO of Invitae
00:00 Genetic testing 2018: What trends are you watching?
03:26 What’s your take on 23andMe?
08:17 Could DTC do harm to mainstream testing?
12:53 Are you considering DTC? "Yes, but . . ."
22:23 A typical day at the lab
25:51 What do you mean genetic testing is dead?
A few years ago they were the new kid on the block, and now they are a leader of mainstream genetic testing. Last year their revenue and profit were significantly up.
And yet in today’s interview, CEO Sean George does not sound like someone sitting back on his laurels. In fact, he says his business model has got to change.
We expected Sean to push back against the recent approval of 23andMe’s direct-to-consumer BRCA test and the recent boldness of the DTC space in general, but he surprised us with a welcoming attitude toward his “coopetition.” He says that the DTC companies are providing general education in genetics to the public.
“It’s tailwind for us.”
When asked if they would ever consider going direct to consumer, Sean said that Invitae has already been piloting a broad comprehensive genetic profile for healthy people and has plans to launch it to the general public in the future. All of their tests, he emphasizes however, must be ordered through physicians.
Sean goes on to lay out his vision for the business model of the future.
"The model of single $3,000-$5,000 tests is clearly dead. It does not work. The companies do not scale. The value is there. It’s disappointing to me that it doesn’t work. But people are not paying for it. So our view is you've got to go at it the other way. Let’s unlock it. Let’s make it a utility in healthcare.”