Genetic testing company Invitae has made more than a dozen acquisitions to further its goal of democratizing genetic testing. Its latest deal, a $325 million bid to acquire Ciitizen, will add patients’ health records to that picture.
The Palo Alto-based startup was founded by Anil Sethi, who sold his previous health records venture to Apple. It uses a patient’s HIPAA right of access to pull in all of their records, and organize that information, which often comes in thousands of pages of unstructured notes.
“When curated into a single longitudinal data set, patient-level records will trace a complete story of a patient’s genetic, health, wellness, diagnosis, treatments, medical procedures and outcomes,” Sethi wrote in an email to MedCity News.
The deal would let Invitae’s users access all of their clinical and genomic information in one place, and make it easier for Invitae to streamline the process of collecting and organizing health data. In the longer term, Invitae plans to bring together Ciitizen and the its other recent acquisitions to build a personalized data platform for patients.
Invitae CEO and Co-Founder Sean George wrote in an email that this platform would “propel Invitae from being a testing company to a genetic testing, software, and health information technology leader.”
In a Tuesday investor call, he explained the companies hold similar values: patients should own their health data, and health data is more valuable when shared.
“That patient-centric orientation also sets (Ciitizen) and us apart from the other data companies emerging today whose strategy is to aggregate data from various organizations and send that data to interested parties for their benefit, oftentimes without the input permission or real transparency to the patients themselves,” George said.
Their approaches also complement each other. Ciitizen started with the idea of helping cancer patients, like Sethi’s late sister, who had metastatic breast cancer, and has expanded to pediatric patients with rare conditions.
Meanwhile, San Francisco-based Invitae began with tests for adult inherited diseases, and has expanded to several other conditions, including oncology, with its buyout of ArcherDx last year. Unlike its consumer-facing brethren, Invitae’s test kits must be ordered by a healthcare provider.
Ciitizen brings in revenue by connecting pharmaceutical companies and advocacy groups with health data. To do that, it specifically asks for patient consent at every point of the process. For example, the startup first must get a patient’s consent to pull their health records. If a company is looking for records from patients with a specific condition, they need to get that patient’s consent to share their records first.
“We believe that the combination of genetic and clinical data, housed in an easy-to-use digital wallet, will enable better healthcare outcomes, provide important data for biopharma customers and researchers, and fuel new innovation that can then be patient matched,” Sethi wrote.
Both companies’ boards have agreed to the deal, which is expected to close this month. It would include $125 million in cash and 7.07 million shares of Invitae’s common stock.
Separately, Invitae said it plans to issue about $225 million in restricted stock units to new employees who join the company. Sethi will remain president of Ciitizen and will see his role expand at the combined company, including working with third-party developers and building patient-centric apps.
Photo credit: mikdem, Getty Images
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