Portable Genomics, a new La Jolla startup, is seeking investors to help underwrite its plan to commercially develop software that can display a person's genetic information on such devices as smartphones and electronic tablets.
"We want consumers to be able to visualize and use this information and to easily share it with their doctors," said Patrick Merel, the French microbiologist who founded the company.
Merel is trying to capitalize on the plummeting cost of sequencing a person's entire genome. Such sequencing cost millions of dollars less than a decade a ago. But biotech analysts say that consumers will soon be able to have their genome sequenced for about $1,000. That would make it affordable to a segment of the public who want to know if they might have a predisposition to such things as cancer, diabetes and developmental disorders.
Merel said that his company has developed prototypes that allow a person's genetic information to be displayed on an iPhone and iPad, and that Portable Genomics will have about a half-dozen programmers this summer to refine the software.
Sequencing also is important in the development of drugs. Roche recently made a hostile $5.7 billion take-over bid for San Diego-based Illumina, a leader in commercial sequencing.
There's also growth in the business of interpreting genomes. The new players include Cypher Genomics of La Jolla, which specializes in genomic medicine, quantitative genetics, and database and software engineering. Cypher's founders include Eric Topol, the internationally known cardiologist and chief academic officer at Scripps Health.
Sources: Gary Robbins, San Diego Union Tribune