Monday, May 22, 2017

Trade Press Summary: Color Genomics Pivots Towards Payers

A detailed subscription-only article at Genomeweb on May 22 discusses Color Genomics' new strategy to begin directly contracting with, and billing, major payers (here).  Color provides a 30-gene test that brings together genes for risks associated with eight common cancers (breast, prostate, etc).  The test's price point has been $249.  Genomeweb also has a short public-access summary, here.

The company raised a new funding round of $45M last September (here, here.)
  • For an open access trade journal on new-news regarding Color and payers, see MedCityNews, here.
  • For an open-access publication on its test in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment (dated June 2017), here.
  • For a 6-page white paper on its test on the company's own website, here.
  • The company made a switch among founders between Chairman and CEO in December, here.
  • For a look-back on the company's history by SF Biz Journal, here.
  • For a trade journal review of three companies (Grail, Twist, Color), see here.
  • For a commercial market report on the growing global predictive testing marketplace, here.
  • For an article on another innovator in the space, see MedCityNews on TrueHealth, here.

Chief Medical Officer Jill Hagenkord MD has worked successively at Complete Genomics, Invitae, UCSF, 23andMe, and Color (here).  More after the break.
Testing of BRCA and other breast-cancer risk genes is one of the largest parts of the genetics industry.  Large-scale competitor Myriad Genetics' share price has been as high as $43 and as low as $16 over the past 24 months (currently $21.38).

I've commented previously that Medicare's fee schedule is exceptionally quirky in this field, as of today paying as high as $2780 for a small two-gene hereditary breast cancer panel or as low as $931 for those two genes when embedded inside a larger 14-gene panel, depending on the state (MolDx or not) and other factors (here).  (Suggestion: Nobody tell the President!)  The reset of Medicare's lab fee schedule to market pricing under PAMA law may or may not occur in 2018, depending on CMS policy decisions and logistics, but cannot change pricing downward by more than 10% per year.  

Under recent major change to value-based physician payments, Medicare can directly "ding" physicians for excessive spending in ordered services.   Thus, a physician ordering a less-expensive test will come to face less penalty to his own checkbook that one ordering a costly test or multiple costly tests.  (More on physician bonuses and penalties tied to spending levels by MIPS, MACRA, here.)  


Color announced a research-oriented service line in March 2017, here.