Genealogy giant Ancestry is planning to get into health in a big way, according to the company’s CEO and a review of job postings.
The company has historically avoided healthcare, even as personal genetics companies like 23andMe have made it a key part of their businesses.
“The possibilities in consumer genomics to help really shift to individualized medicine, the opportunities are just endless,” CEO Margo Georgiadis said in an interview.
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Ancestry, the family history website, is preparing for a big move into healthcare, an area the 36-year-old firm has largely avoided.
Business Insider has learned that the company has been recruiting for a health team, as the private-equity owned firm prepares for a move that could put it in competition with 23andMe. Ancestry’s CEO said the firm’s goal is to create a product that gives a holistic view of an individual’s health, similar to the company’s family trees. So far, the company has yet to announce anything official.
“When we think about not just the potential of the core business enabled by technology but what you do everyday, the possibilities in consumer genomics to help really shift to individualized medicine, the opportunities are just endless,” CEO Margo Georgiadis said in an interview.
Ancestry’s health push is still in its early days, and it’s unclear exactly what health products the company will offer. Consumer genetic tests for health, offered by companies like 23andMe, have progressed rapidly. Users can now see if they have predispositions for certain diseases, including breast cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Ancestry’s current DNA test, which maps out your genetic roots going back generations, has been growing quickly, since launching in 2012. In 2015, the company hit 1 million people tested and in May of this year the company said it’s run tests for more than 15 million people. The test doesn’t currently provide any health information.
Read more: I revisited my 23andMe results that can now tell whether you may have an increased risk of cancer — here’s what it was like
Why Ancestry has historically shied away from health
Healthcare is just the latest evolution for Ancestry, which was founded in 1983 to publish magazines about family history. The company later built family tree software and launched Ancestry.com in 1996. To date, the company has focused largely on family histories, family tree products and getting more and more detailed on migration patterns.
Ancestry is now reportedly gearing up to go public, according to Bloomberg News. The company was taken private in 2012.
“At this time, Ancestry has no plans for an IPO,” a spokeswoman for Ancestry told Business Insider.
Ancestry has briefly dipped its toes into healthcare before. The company in 2015 tested out an AncestryHealth product, but the test was only around for about six months. The program asked users to report their family health histories, asking whether there were people in your family tree who had heart conditions, cancer, or lung conditions.
The company also had a …read more
Source:: Business Insider – Science