Health Services, BioPharma, Diagnostics

NIH research initiative All of Us funds Color Genomics as its genetic counseling service

The partnership builds on an existing relationship between All of Us and Color, which was chosen as one of three genome centers that are responsible for actual genotyping of patient samples.

gene testing, DNA, genomics

The NIH-led All of Us Research Program has decided to award Burlingame, California-based Color Genomics a $4.6 million grant to act as the initiative’s nationwide genetic counseling service.

The mission of All of Us is to gather health data from one million Americans across different diverse communities to accelerate and improve research into precision medicine.

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Initially established by the White House in 2015, the publicly funded program has been enabled by the 2016 passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, which authorized $1.5 billion over ten years for the initiative.

The idea behind All of Us is to follow program participants over a period of at least 10 years to better understand patients from a longitudinal perspective. All of Us partners with local community health centers and health systems to collect information for the initiative.

In May, the program celebrated its one-year anniversary and announced more than 230,000 people have started the process of joining the research program and more than 142,000 have completed the program’s first research protocol.

As the program progresses All of Us will offer up a range of data to program participants including ancestry information, drug-gene interactions and genetic markers of disease.

Color Genomics has been enlisted to provide genomics counseling services and the technological infrastructure necessary to help individuals better understand their genetic testing results and the potential larger impact on their health.

The company will offer educational materials and multilingual telecounseling services, as well as connections with Color pharmacists who can explain how to discuss results with the person’s healthcare provider.

“A genetic counseling award of this size is a first for NIH,”All of US Genomics Program Director Brad Ozenberger said in a statement.

“We look forward to working with Color and our entire consortium to discover the ethical and effective ways to deliver genetic counseling at this very large scale across diverse communities.”

The partnership builds on an existing relationship between All of Us and Color, which was chosen as one of three genome centers that are responsible for actual genotyping of patient samples.

Color Genomics is a genetic testing company that offers a range of products meant to predict an individual’s risk of a specific diseases and conditions. The company says it has conducted more than 15,000 genetic counseling sessions to help individuals understand their genomic testing results.

Initially founded in 2013, the startup has raised around $150 million from investors including General Catalyst, Khosla Ventures and Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang.

“The All of Us Research Program is a prime example of using technology to support geographically distributed and diverse research volunteers,” Color CEO Othman Laraki said in a statement..

“We are honored to provide the technological backbone — software and services including our genetic counseling program — to extend the reach of this groundbreaking effort across all 50 states and showcase a scalable model for the integration of genomics into public health.”

Photo: Natali_Mis, Getty Images