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Silicon Valley companies offering breast and ovarian cancer genetic screen benefit

| | October 2, 2015

This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

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Visa, along with a handful of Silicon Valley companies and venture capital firms, will offer employees genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer as a benefit.

The testing is being done in partnership with Color Genomics, a San Francisco-based genetic testing startup. Participating employers will cover at least half of the cost of the test for employees.

Other employers that have signed on include venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, grocery delivery service Instacart, online publisher Medium, the Sacramento Kings basketball team, business messaging service Slack, venture capital firm Social+ Capital, digital payments processor Stripe, online survey company SurveyMonkey, and startup incubator Y Combinator.

Workers order genetic “spit kits” online and have them delivered by mail. After receiving the samples, Color analyzes 19 genes — including BRCA1 and BRCA2, the two gene mutations related to breast and ovarian cancer.

Based on the results, testers can contact board-certified genetic counselors at Color about the next steps and enroll in a screening prevention plan.

What makes Color’s test unusual is that it comes with a much smaller price tag than typical genetic tests for breast cancer, which is often not covered by medical insurance. Those that do cover it often require that customers provide proof of a strong family history of breast and ovarian cancer. But Color says that roughly 50 percent of people carrying BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations do not have the family history that would allow for insurance coverage.

Read full, original post: Color genomics

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