While driving and listening to National Public Radio one day, Justin Kao heard about the discovery of a “sweet tooth gene” that makes you more likely to crave sweets. “Oh my God,” thought Kao, who has always loved cookies. “I would pay $5 to know if I had that.”
Kao is hoping that millions of other people will be just as eager to spend a few bucks for tidbits revealed in their DNA. He is a cofounder of Helix, a San Francisco–based company that last summer secured more than $100 million in a quest to create the first “app store” for genetic information.
DNA App Store
- BreakthroughA new business model for DNA sequencing that will make genetic information widely accessible online.
- Why It MattersYour genome determines a great deal about you, including your likelihood of getting certain diseases.
- Key Players in Consumer Genomics– Helix
– Veritas Genetics
Our genomes hold information about our health risks, our physical traits, and whom we’re related to. Yet aside from ancestry tests that provide a limited genetic snapshot, there’s not a mass market for DNA data. Helix is a bet by Kao’s former employer, the buyout firm Warburg Pincus, and Illumina, the leading manufacturer of ultrafast DNA sequencing machines, that what’s been missing is the right business model.
An online store for information about your genes will make it cheap and easy to learn more about your health risks and predispositions. Availability: this year While driving and listening to National Public Radio one day, Justin Kao heard about the discovery of a “sweet tooth gene” that makes you more likely to crave sweets.