Life Sciences Insight

Genome Medical plots growth spurt with back-to-back $60M venture raise, GeneMatters acquisition

With regular venture funding rounds and a handful of new strategic partnerships and technology launches in recent years, expanding the reach of its telegenomics service platform has become a core piece of Genome Medical’s DNA.

Now, Genome Medical is taking a two-pronged approach: Alongside raking in $60 million in new financing, it also made a bid for GeneMatters, a Minneapolis-based provider of virtual genetic counseling services.

The series C funding round was led by Casdin Capital. More than a dozen other new and existing investors also joined in, including Alphabet’s GV, Amgen Ventures, Illumina Ventures, Kaiser Permanente Ventures and more.

With the new funding—which effectively doubles Genome Medical’s lifetime financing since its 2016 founding—the South San Francisco-based company will build out its genomics-focused telehealth services. It’ll do so by tripling the size of its commercial team, CEO Lisa Alderson told Fierce Medtech, and by adding new counseling services, care guidelines and patient engagement tools to its platform.

At the same time, GeneMatters will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Genome Medical. Financial terms of that deal were not disclosed.

And, in addition to the back-to-back business updates, Genome Medical will also expand its board of directors. Casdin Capital’s Eli Casdin and Shaun Rodriguez and GeneMatters President Jill Davies will be named directors, while GV’s Anthony Philippakis, M.D., Ph.D., will sign on as a nonvoting board observer.

Genome Medical’s services are accessible either through a patient’s healthcare provider or directly through the company’s website. During an initial consultation, a licensed genetic counselor assesses an individual’s health risks based on family history and environmental factors, then recommends any appropriate genetic tests. Once the tests are complete, the counselor will walk the patient through their results and outline potential care plans to mitigate any risks identified in the results.

The telehealth programs currently span cancer, cardiology, reproductive health, pediatrics and pharmacogenomics as well as proactive genetics.

Merging GeneMatters’ business with Genome Medical’s will build out both companies’ virtual genetic counseling services. Access to Genome Medical’s further-reaching technological capabilities, for example, will allow GeneMatters to focus specifically on reaching more patients through smaller partners like community health systems.

“We like to think of Genome Medical as a mile wide, offering end-to-end genomic care delivery solutions with a full medical team, and GeneMatters as a mile deep, innovating on how genetic counseling services are delivered with big gains in efficiency and optimized workflows,” Alderson explained.

“The genomics industry is growing rapidly, with incredible amounts of investment in sequencing technology and molecular diagnostic testing capabilities. What our growth—our combined team—will enable is accelerated access down to the patient level,” she continued. “The rapid evolution of genomic medicine only makes a difference if we can help providers understand and apply it appropriately, and then utilize it with the patients who can benefit the most.”

In addition to increasing access to genetic testing for the approximately 80% of people who qualify for testing but aren’t yet getting it, Alderson said the combined company also has an eye on expanding the applications for its services beyond just those with hereditary risks.

“The next growth hurdle is in applying genetic screening to general populations to enable the early identification of higher disease risk and early intervention to improve outcomes,” she said.

The latest funding round follows an extended series B round that ultimately closed in July 2020 with a total of $37 million.

The $14 million extension was led by Samsung Catalyst Fund, which doubled down on its investment by forging a partnership with Genome Medical that would combine Samsung’s digital health technology with Genome Medical’s expertise in helping patients understand their genetic test results and health risks.

Since then, the company has maintained that growth mindset. In March of this year, it brought on Brandon Poe, Illumina’s former vice president of finance, as its new chief financial officer, and Marco Barcella, an IBM Watson Health alum, as chief product officer.

The following month, it scored an exclusive licensing deal with Health Heritage, integrating the family medical history and genomic decision support software into Genome Medical’s own genetic counseling platform.

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