Navigenics #1 – “My genes, my health, my life – Who are Navigenics?”

This is the first article originating from G&H’s exclusive interview with Navigenics’ Medical Director Dr Michael Nierenberg.  We take a look at the company and who is behind Navigenics.

The much anticipated launch! 

April 8th, 2008 Navigenics Inc launches its genomics service In New York. 

It has branded its service as “Navigenics Health Compass”.  

In its launch literature the company writes: “Navigenics aims to transform medicine from a ‘sick care’ model of ‘wait and see’ to the emergence of early risk detection.  It aims to empower individuals with opportunity and knowledge and to take preventative steps and a hands on approach to their family’s health and wellness” 

Navigenics – a veritable who’s who in genetics and business 

Navigenics has some highly influential supporters including Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield and Byers (KP) and Sequoia Capital who have recently invested just under US$4m.   Amongst its heavy hitting Board members, co-founders and partners are David Brailer, until recently the Bush Administration’s point man on electronic health records and more recently Chairman of Health Evolution Partners, a private equity fund that invests in healthcare.   

Company co-founders are Dietrich Stephan, a Director at the Translational Genomics Research Institute and David Agus, a protein biomarker researcher at Cedars-Sinai Medical Hospital in LA.  Navigenics CEO Mari Baker was KPs ‘executive in residence’ and is former President of BabyCenter a website for parents.  Also advising is politically connected Greg Simon, now President of Michael Milken’s FasterCures organization and previously Al Gore’s chief domestic policy advisor. 

Navigenics has close ties to Affymetrix and uses Affy’s gene chip (23andme uses Illumina’s chip).  Affy’s former associate general counsel Stephen Moore is now Navigenic’s general counsel and the company’s VP Business development, Sean George was also at Affy.  Amy duRoss, Navigenics Head of Policy and Business Affairs, was formerly with the Californian Institute of Regenerative Medicine and is also Navigenics’ spokeswoman.

To learn more about the company and its thoughts on key issues surrounding the genomics industry, look out for the following articles which will be posted throughout this week.

Navigenics #2 – A stroll through your genomic park – about the test

Navigenics #3 - SNP testing – can it be used for disease risk assessment?

Navigenics #4 – Low penetrance v high penetrance genes

Navigenics #5 - Corporate or pragmatic genomics

Navigenics #6 – Privacy, insurance, GINA and ethics

Navigenics #7 – The barriers to success! 

Elaine Warburton

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