Led by Veritas Genetics Co-Founder Dr. George Church, Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Personal Genome Project, PGP is a long-term effort to sequence thousands of complete genomes to enable research into personal genomics and personalized medicine. PGP has more than 16,000 participants worldwide.
The "$1,000 Genome" has long been considered the tipping point when sequencing and interpreting the human genome becomes commonplace and begins to rapidly increase what is known and to dramatically impact healthcare. The catchphrase underscores how far science has come since the actual cost of the Human Genome Project, estimated at $2.7 billion spent over a decade.
Since then, others have touted the $1,000 genome, but never before has an organization been able to include interpretation, which is the key to applying genetic information into decisions about disease monitoring, prevention, nutrition, exercise, and more. "This is a true milestone worth celebrating, since it includes interpretation and genetic counseling," says Dr. Church.
Veritas Genetics' collaboration with PGP is a natural step. Three of the company founders have over 10 years of experience in processing and understanding whole genomes from their work with PGP. In addition to Dr. Church, Veritas Genetics' Chief Scientific Officer Preston Estep is PGP's Director of Sequencing, and Dr. Joseph Thakuria, the company's Chief Medical Officer, serves as PGP's Medical Director.
"Today's announcement is a watershed moment that will truly change the way we take care of ourselves and our families," says Mirza Cifric, Veritas Genetics' CEO and Founder. "While the cost of sequencing has dramatically declined, there is still a need for interpretation and information that is tangible and actionable to help individuals live better and longer lives. At Veritas, we are unlocking the potential of the $1,000 genome starting with early adopters, PGP participants. You can expect to see much more from us on this topic as we expand access beyond the PGP."
In June 2015, Veritas Genetics broke a similar barrier for breast and ovarian cancer by making its myBRCA genetic screening test of BRCA1 and BRCA2 available for $199. The myBRCA test showcases the range of genetic testing that Veritas Genetics will be offering, from specific panel tests through whole human genome sequencing. PGP participants are able to sign up with Veritas Genetics to have their whole genome sequenced at www.veritasgenetics.com/pgp.