Alicia Zhou


Chapters:

2:40 A commitment to scale: Color “bought the robot from the beginning.”

5:25 Making the process “automagical.” How Google Maps influenced the design of Color’s genetic testing model. Equal numbers of software engineers and genetic counselors

9:15 How do they automate the integration of family and medical history?

11:15 Color offers unlimited genetic counseling to every customer for free.

14:10 Cascade screening for first degree relatives? $50.

Confirmatory testing for a DTC cancer susceptibility result? $50.

How do you make money on this? (You don’t!)

18:20 Comparing Color to tests that cost more: do you get what you don’t pay for? Yes and no…

29:00 The WISDOM study attempts to put precision medicine into action: looks at modifying use of mammogram based on cancer susceptibility testing plus breast cancer susceptibility polygenic risk score. “Getting a real risk score for all individuals – that would be truly magical.”

32:40 An All of Us challenge: how do you stay nimble at scale? “They want it to be dynamic.” Alicia is a real All of Us fan. Can a massive government project be… good? (maybe if the current government doesn’t notice…)

Color Genomics burst on the scene in 2015, offering breast cancer susceptibility testing at a fraction of the price of other laboratories.

From the beginning, it was clear that their goal was to scale the availability of genetic testing – including genetic counseling. This approach has drawn some skepticism and it has also drawn some competitors. Their experience with scaling the return of results, says VP of Research and Scientific Affairs Alicia Zhou, seemed like a natural fit with the aims of All of Us, the population screening program funded by the US government. The NIH apparently agreed, giving Color the contract to build out an infrastructure for genetic counseling as All of Us begins its 10-year process of giving back results to participants.

Alicia joins us on the Beagle to discuss Color’s core business ($50 cascade screening? Is that… sustainable?) and some of the new challenges and whether or not they’re hiring…