The new startup from 23andMe co-founder Linda Avey announces seed investment from Rock Health
SAN FRANCISCO (PRWEB) JANUARY 15, 2020
Precise.ly, a precision health startup led by 23andMe co-founder Linda Avey and Aneil Mallavarapu, Ph.D., today announced its partnership with Narayana Health, India’s leading specialty hospital network with 24 hospitals serving 2.5 million patients a year. Precise.ly is focusing its genomics services initially in India, delivering next-generation sequencing (NGS) data through a consumer sales channel and creating a path to personalized and preventive healthcare in collaboration with its hospital partners. The company is also announcing its initial seed funding, and it will be expanding its India-based team in Bangalore.
“Precise.ly’s mission is to deliver validated genetic insights to the billions of people living outside the western world. We’re initially focused on India where there are urgent health issues readily addressable through access to personal genomic data,” said Avey, CEO of Precise.ly. “Our partnership with Narayana is vital to delivering on the promise of precise, data-driven health.”
CTO Aneil Mallavarapu added, “To date, most human genetics research has focused on European populations. But genetic insights need to be tuned to the rest of the world. We’ve assembled a team of experts who are pioneering advances in genetic analysis and its application to the huge populations of people in south Asia and beyond.”
Narayana Health is led by Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty, who founded the hospital in 2000 with the goal of delivering affordable, high-quality healthcare to the citizens of India. Dr. Shetty is interested in working with Precise.ly on building a large stem cell donor registry, serving hundreds of thousands of Indians in need of transplants. This insight, that a consumer genetics model could function as an immune system matching service, has become a central feature of Precise.ly’s data collection.
“Personal genetic testing is recognized by the U.S. FDA to test genetic risk for Parkinsonism, late onset Alzheimer’s disease and celiac disease. It is only a matter of time before most diseases get added to the list. Because of the simplicity of genetic testing from saliva samples, it’s possible to conduct large-scale population screening at a reasonable cost. We are working with Precise.ly’s team of researchers to add HLA typing, which has the potential to transform cancer and other disease treatments in India,” said Dr. Shetty.
Precise.ly’s team includes world-renowned scientists working at the forefront of genomics and medical advisors focusing on South Asian health, including:
- Raj Dash, M.D., Ph.D., medical director of the Stanford South Asian Translational Heart Initiative (SSATHI) and founder of HealthPals
- Alicia Martin, Ph.D., Associate Scientist at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, studying the role of global genetic diversity in predisposing people to complex disease
- Jonathan Pritchard, Ph.D., Professor of Genetics and Biology at Stanford University, known for his foundational work on population genetic structure
- Marcelo Fernández-Viña, Ph.D., Professor of Pathology and director of Stanford’s Histocompatibility, Immunogenetics and Disease Profiling Laboratory
- Spencer Wells, Ph.D., Adjunct Professor, University of Texas at Austin, widely recognized for his pioneering research in population genetics and groundbreaking work in consumer genetics at the Genographic Project, a collaboration with National Geographic and IBM
Investors in the company’s seed round include Rock Health, the first fund committed to digital health, and a roster of U.S.-based angels. Further details of the round are not disclosed at this time.
Precise.ly, Inc. is a San Francisco–based precision health startup dedicated to providing personal genomic insights to the billions of people living outside the U.S. and Europe. The company’s science team and advisors, having backgrounds in bioinformatics, population genetics, biostatistics, and medical care, are focused on delivering validated ancestry and health reports to the Indian population. By partnering with the country’s leading hospital networks, clinical care can be tailored to the individual based on genetic risk assessments provided by the Precise.ly service, ushering in more targeted and preventive health outcomes.
About Narayana Health (NH)
Headquartered in Bengaluru, India, NH operates a network of hospitals across the country. The first facility was established in Bengaluru with approximately 225 operational beds and has since grown to 23 hospitals, 7 heart centers, 19 primary care facilities across India, and an international hospital in the Cayman Islands. The group now features over 6,000 operational beds through a combination of greenfield projects and acquisitions. The “Narayana Health” brand is strongly associated with its mission to deliver high-quality, affordable healthcare services to the broader population by leveraging economies of scale, skilled doctors, and an efficient business model.