The New York Times (9/9, C3, Pollack) reports that a "company called 23andMe, one of the leaders in the new field of consumer genetic information, is expected to announce on Tuesday that it is cutting the price of its service deeply, to $399, down from $999." Company co- founder Linda Avey said that "the move reflected improvements and lower costs for devices, made by Illumina of San Diego, that are used to scan a person’s genome."
The "price cut will ideally mean an influx of new information that will speed discoveries in the lab," the AP (9/9, Wohlsen) adds. Furthermore, "the company hopes to increase demand and hasten the day when a full genetic screening becomes routine medical practice." Notably, 23andMe’s "main competitors charge anywhere from just under $1,000 to $2,500 for similar services."
But "while the genome companies say they are empowering individuals who want more control over their own healthcare, critics have cautioned that most of the genetic information provided would make little real difference in decisions made by patients and their doctors," the San Francisco Chronicle (9/9, D1, Tansey) notes. Still, Avey maintains that while "such a database of information on the genetics and health histories of many individuals would have huge commercial value," it "will also support 23andMe’s long-term plan to act as a liaison between drug researchers and groups of people with specific medical and genetic profiles." The Los Angeles Times (9/8) also covered the story in its Technology blog.