Smart Genetics Shuts Its Doors

Smart Genetics Shuts Its Doors

by Dr. Hsien-Hsien Lei
Posted October 6, 2008 in Business of DNA, DNA Testing

Direct-to-consumer genetic testing company, Smart Genetics, has gone out of business. The two-year-old company sold HIV Mirror and Alzheimer’s Mirror, DNA tests for HIV progression to AIDS and Alzheimer’s risk respectively.

I first wrote about HIVmirror in June 2007. Aimed at HIV+ individuals, the test analyzes the CCR5 Delta32 and CCR2-64I genetic variants previously shown to slow the progression of HIV infection to AIDS. Alzheimer’s Mirror examined the APOE gene.

CEO and co-founder Julian Awad first received funding for the company while at the Wharton School of Business. He was later profiled by CBS News for  Alzheimer’s Mirror and found that his own personal lifetime risk of Alzheimer’s disease is about 9 to 10 percent compared to 15% for the general population.

Ironically, he was also mentioned in a Wharton article from 2007 – Can Anyone Make Sense — or Money — Out of Personal DNA Testing?

Apparently not.



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Comment by Fredric Abramson Subscribed to comments via email

It’s not that personal DNA testing isn’t a here-and-now business, it is that only one in ten people want to learn how their DNA impacts their exit strategy from life. Disease prediction is not a big sell. Duh!

But almost everyone wants to learn about their non-disease DNA, because this tells them more about who they are and how to live better right now.

Fredric Abramson

Comment by Yvette

Interesting. So what is your take on this? I have been saying that the first companies to make money off of any kind of direct-to-consumer genetic testing would likely be “recreational” applications–in particular ones involving genealogy, ancestry tracing, artistic products and celebrities.

Comment by Jeremy

This truly is sad. I had a nephew who died of AIDS many years ago when he was only nineteen years old. He contracted the virus from a bad blood transfusion that happened before they even KNEW that AIDS existed. Any research done to prevent/treat/cure AIDS should be aggressively supported and encouraged.


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