Counsyl Unveils First Highly Scalable, Automated Health Information Platform and Gives People Low Cost Access to Vital Information about Their Bodies
Counsyl Launches Inherited Cancer Screen and Advances Family Prep Screen Using Latest in Sequencing Technology To Deliver Results in Two Weeks or Less; Raises $28M To Further Product Expansion, Bringing Total Financing to $93M
Counsyl Announces 250,000 Patients Screened and 14,000 Medical Professionals Served -- Changing The Way People Make Choices About Their Lives
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., May 8, 2014-- Counsyl, a technology company that gives people access to vital information about their bodies, unveils the first scalable, comprehensive platform for people to request and receive important health information in two weeks or less. Counsyl launches the Inherited Cancer Screen starting with cancer susceptibility genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 and advances its Family Prep Screen using the latest in sequencing technology for couples planning to start a family.
Counsyl also announces it has raised $28 million in Series D financing co-led by Rosemont Seneca Technology Partners and Goldman Sachs Asset Management bringing total financing to $93 million. The company will use the funds to continue to invest in product development. By reducing the cost of previously expensive laboratory procedures, Counsyl is giving people and physicians access to medical data that is truly actionable. Today this includes an Inherited Cancer Screen and Family Prep Screen, with a future roadmap for delivering comprehensive screening for a wide range of vital health information.
“We want to make it easy and affordable for people to get screened for a wide range of meaningful information that can have a real influence on their health,” said Ramji Srinivasan, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Counsyl. “We have made a conscious decision to screen for diseases that give more people more choices in their lives.”
New Inherited Cancer Screen
Research shows that five to 10 percent of cancers are inherited. Counsyl’s new BRCA1 and BRCA2 screen informs men and women if they have inherited a high risk for breast, ovarian, prostate, and pancreatic cancers. Counsyl provides advanced knowledge that gives people options to prepare, plan and do things to improve their health. For example, learning this vital information can help doctors identify patients who are at high risk for certain cancers. Doctors then can recommend more frequent, advanced screening than the average guidelines suggest. Counsyl’s offerings will soon include screens for other inherited cancers.
Holly T., a hairstylist and mother from Camarillo, Calif., recently took the Counsyl Inherited Cancer Screen as cancer runs in her family. Holly said, “Knowing this information allows me to be proactive. I want to be here for my kids, and I want to do everything I can to stay healthy.”
Advances to Family Prep Screen
Using sophisticated new sequencing technology, the Counsyl Family Prep Screen gives couples who are planning to have a baby information about hundreds of diseases they may unknowingly pass to future generations. A positive result means that a prospective parent is a healthy “carrier” of a genetic disease. When both parents are carriers of the same disease, they have a one in four chance of giving birth to a child that is at risk for that disease. These are health conditions where advanced knowledge can change the way a couple approaches family planning.
“You can take control of what you’ve been given and do something with it for the positive,” notes Jennifer B., a nurse and mother who learned that she and her husband were carriers of a severe disease, Smith-Lemli-Opitz Syndrome, and chose specialized fertility treatments to have a healthy baby.
Launching Counsyl Complete Platform
In addition, the company is announcing Counsyl Complete, a platform for online communication of results between physicians and patients. Physicians who offer the Counsyl Complete service have access to a complete set of online tools to allow them to easily track, monitor and follow up with patients.
Through a private online account, physicians can give results directly to patients along with educational videos that explain the significance of the findings. Patients who have additional questions can schedule complimentary telephone counseling with an experienced medical professional from Counsyl during daytime, evening and weekend hours. Compared to the standard wait time of several weeks or months, physicians can now connect patients to a genetic counselor online and expect to receive written documentation following the call.
“In my opinion, Counsyl Complete holds the promise to revolutionize the way doctors and laboratories interact. This product is an innovation that is overdue and a welcome partnership that we hope will prove to be an asset to our practice and our patients," said Mitchell Nudelman MD, Bellegrove Ob/Gyn.
Highly Automated Counsyl Lab
Counsyl integrates sophisticated technology with custom automation in its CLIA-certified, CAP-accredited and NYS CLEP-permitted medical laboratory. Designed from the ground up by a world-class team of scientists and engineers, Counsyl’s lab has created unparalleled efficiencies in the medical testing industry.
“We are able to introduce new technology that allows us to process 10 times more samples per person than traditional molecular labs,” said Dr. Eric Evans, co-founder and Chief Science Officer at Counsyl. “Building an efficient, scalable lab that uses sophisticated machinery and algorithms to produce reliable data is a never-ending process. We’re constantly adding new hardware and evaluating new technologies to ensure that millions of people have access to critical information.”
Counsyl uses custom-built robots to process blood and saliva samples working alongside Counsyl’s team of scientists and engineers to simultaneously analyze thousands of DNA samples with precision, accuracy and unparalleled efficiency.
When a sample reaches the laboratory, Counsyl’s robots use a unique barcode to identify and track the sample from start to finish. Robotic extraction and preparation of purified DNA ensures precision, which is a vital aspect of Counsyl’s ability to analyze thousands of samples each day. These robots are engineered from machines that are used for similarly precise procedures, like laser eye surgery.
“Our team of engineers can take raw medical data and turn it into a clear online report,” said Rishi Kacker, Counsyl co-founder and VP of engineering. “We’ve had to build our software systems from the ground up to offer a simple and intuitive experience while managing complex order flows, billing, fulfillment, and on-call counseling behind the scenes.”
Counsyl Medical Professionals
Members of the Counsyl clinical team are certified by the American Board of Genetic Counseling and were recruited from top academic centers, including Johns Hopkins Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical Center and UCSF Medical Center. They are passionate about translating scientific data into actionable information to help people make educated choices that are consistent with their personal beliefs.
How To Get Counsyl
Step 1: Request
Request Counsyl online at www.counsyl.com. Counsyl will contact your physician to obtain medical approval. If you are planning to use insurance, you can use the Counsyl price estimator to help calculate the cost.
Step 2: Register
Receive a registered kit in the mail, along with instructions for sample collection.
Step 3: Submit
Submit a saliva specimen in the plastic tube provided within each kit and send the sample back to Counsyl in a prepaid envelope.
Step 4: Learn
Get your results within two weeks, with an option to review your findings with a medical professional at Counsyl.
Pricing for Counsyl
Counsyl offers people an online price estimator that allows them to input their insurance information and receive a quote within seconds. This upfront pricing transparency allows people to know what the price will be before a test has been performed. Eligible patients typically pay between $150-300 depending on the test and their insurance coverage.
Counsyl is a technology company that strives to give millions of men and women access to vital information about their bodies so they can confidently make choices about their lives. Counsyl integrates sophisticated technology with custom automation in its CLIA-certified, CAP-accredited and NYS CLEP-permitted medical laboratory. The Counsyl Family Prep Screen has already helped hundreds of thousands of people discover critical information before having children, and the Counsyl platform now includes inherited cancer screening. Counsyl has raised a total of $93 million and is privately backed by Rosemont Seneca Technology Partners, Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Founders Fund, Felicis Ventures, David Drummond, and other high profile investors.
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Julie Supan and Shivani Nazareth
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