Arivale Raises $36 Million For Genetics Testing and Personal Coaching

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Seattle-based genetics startup Arivale announces that it has raised a $36 million Series B from Arch Venture Partners, Polaris Partners, and Maveron. The new funding brings Arivale’s total funding to $39 million since its 2014 formation. Founded by renowned biologist Lee Hood, Arivale has had a seemingly easy time raising funding thus far. Hood made a name for himself in biotechnology at Caltech where his research led to major genetics breakthroughs, including the invention of the DNA sequencer. Outside of research, Hood has also co-founded multiple successful biotechnology companies including: Systemix, a pharmaceutical company that was acquired by Novartis AG after working on cell-based gene therapies for AIDS, cancers, and genetic diseases; and Amgen, a now publically-traded pharmaceutical company with 17,000 employees and $20 billion in annual revenue.

In his newest venture, Arivale, Hood is working to overcome the regulatory hurdles associated with direct-to-consumer genome analysis by incorporating physicians, scientists, and personal wellness coaches into the consumer experience. Arivale goes beyond genome sequencing, instead offering a full subset of diagnostic tests that includes DNA sequencing, as well as extensive blood, saliva, and gut microbiome analysis. The company combines this with an interview to capture lifestyle risks and turns the results over to physicians and scientists who create a personalized wellness plan.

Next, Arivale pairs consumers up with a personal health coach, which CEO Clayton Lewis says is the company’s “secret sauce.” He explains, “They take this very complex data set with the support of a physician and scientists, come up with three or four actionable recommendations, and then help you succeed in achieving those recommendations.” While the product will be compelling to some, there are some notable strategic decisions that impact its marketability. First, Arivale will only report health and wellness genetic information to consumers, and will not inform patients if they are found to have high-risk genes, like BRCA1. At $2,000 per year, pricing is also a significant barrier to most consumers. Hood brushes this concern off, saying that the cost of gene sequencing is expected to drop by as much as 10 times over the next eight years, and as the costs drop, the price of his personal coaching service will come down.


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