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Navigenics, Inc.
Type Private
Industry Biotechnology
Founded 2007 (2007)
Founder(s) Drs. David Agus and Dietrich Stephan
Headquarters Foster City, California, United States
Key people Vance Vanier, M.D., President and CEO
Products Health Compass genetic analysis
Services Genetic testing

Navigenics, Inc. is a privately held personal genomics company, based in Foster City, California, that uses genetic testing to help people determine their individual risk for dozens of health conditions.[1]

The company is recognized as starting the personalized medicine revolution and remains part of the growing personal genomics industry, which offers genetic scans and analysis to individuals and physicians for a variety of applications.[2] Some businesses have touted their tests as genealogical tools, however, Navigenics’ focus is on the potential health benefits that can be gained from being aware of personal genetic information.[3]

As part of the genetic testing process, a range of DNA analysis technologies are employed to identify millions of genetic markers which can predispose the body to diseases. The rapid cost reduction in DNA microarray technology and the exponential growth in genetic research following the Human Genome Project have helped make these technologies more affordable to everyday consumers.


Navigenics was co-founded in 2006 by David Agus, M.D., a prostate cancer specialist who is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Southern California and Director of the USC Center for Applied Molecular Medicine and the USC Westside Prostate Cancer Center in Los Angeles, and Dietrich Stephan, Ph.D., member of the Board of Directors of the Personalized Medicine Coalition, current CEO of Silicon Valley Biosystems, former Chairman of Neurogenomics and Deputy Director for Discovery Research at the Translational Genomics Research Institute.[4]

The company officially launched in November 2007. On April 8, 2008, Navigenics began selling its genetic testing services, which include state-of-the-art genetic analysis that assesses your risk for a variety of common health conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and celiac disease.[5]

With the launch of Health Compass, Navigenics opened a temporary exhibition space in the SoHo district of New York City, where the company hosted events and lectures about personal genomics and healthcare.[1] News of the product launch and sometimes first-hand accounts of Health Compass users were reported in a number of publications including the Los Angeles Times[6] and Wired Magazine.[7]

The company also launched an online portal allowing doctors to access the genomic information of consenting patients. The portal allows the physician to integrate patients’ genetic information into personalized health plans designed to help diagnose early or prevent a number of health conditions.[8]

In July 2009, Navigenics lowered the price of the Health Compass comprehensive genetic test to $999.[9]

In July 2012, Navigenics was acquired by Life Technologies.[10]

Controversy in California[edit]

In June 2008, California health regulators sent cease-and-desist letters to Navigenics and 12 other genetic testing firms, including 23andMe.[11] The state regulators asked the companies to prove a physician was involved in the ordering of each test and that state clinical laboratory licensing requirements were being fulfilled. The controversy sparked a flurry of interest in the relatively new field, as well as a number of media articles, including an opinion piece on entitled, “Attention, California Health Dept.: My DNA Is My Data.”[12] In August 2008, Navigenics and 23andMe received state licenses allowing the companies to continue to do business in California.[13]

The future of genetic testing[edit]

Changes have been occurring swiftly in the burgeoning new genetic testing industry. As has been seen with other technologies, the price of some gene tests has been coming down.[14]

In October 2008, it was announced that Scripps Translational Science Institute was partnering with Navigenics, Microsoft Corp. and Affymetrix in a first-of-its kind research study to assess how people respond to personal genetic testing.[15] The 20-year study, known as the Scripps Genomic Health Initiative, will involve up to 10,000 participants, and will analyze whether they make positive lifestyle changes that benefit their health after receiving their genetic test results.

Said Dr. Eric J. Topol, director of Scripps Translational Science Institute and principal investigator of the study:

"Genome scans give people considerable information about their DNA and risk of disease, yet questions have been raised if these tests are ready for widespread public use. Our study will prospectively evaluate the effect that state-of-the-art gene scans have on people’s lifestyles, behaviors, diets and psyches."[16]


  1. ^ a b Navigenics, Inc. "Navigenics launches Health Compass service." Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  2. ^ Human Genome Program. "Potential Benefits of Human Genome Project Research." Retrieved on 2008-10-15.
  3. ^ "About Health Compass." Navigenics, Inc. Retrieved on 2008-10-15.
  4. ^ Navigenics, Inc. "Navigenics launches with pre-eminent team of advisors, collaborators and investors." Press release. (2007-11-06.) Retrieved on 2008-10-24.
  5. ^ Colliver, Victoria. "Navigenics offers direct consumer DNA tests." San Francisco Chronicle. (2008-04-090. Retrieved on 2008-10-15.
  6. ^ Gosline, Anna. "Genome scans go deep into your DNA." Los Angeles Times. (2008-4-14). Retrieved on 2008-10-15.
  7. ^ Goetz, Thomas. "Enter Navigenics, Where Personal Genomics Gets More Medical." Wired Blog Network. (2008-04-08.) Retrieved on 2008-08-28.
  8. ^ Navigenics, Inc. "Navigenics Launches New Portal to Integrate Genomic Information into Medical Practices, also Announces New Service Offering." Press release. (2009-01-28.) Retrieved on 2009-01-28.
  9. ^ Health Compass
  10. ^
  11. ^ Langreth, Robert. "California Orders Stop To Gene Testing." Forbes. (2008-06-14). Retrieved on 2008-10-15.
  12. ^ Goetz, Thomas. "Attention, California Health Dept.: My DNA Is My Data." Wired Blog Network. (2008-06-17). Retrieved on 2008-08-27.
  13. ^ Pollack, Andrew. "California Licenses 2 Companies to Offer Gene Services." New York Times. (2008-08-19). Retrieved 2008-10-15.
  14. ^ Rowe, Aaron. “Human Genetics is Now a Viable Hobby -- 23andMe Cuts its Price to $399.” Wired Blog Network. (2008-09-08). Retrieved on 2008-10-14.
  15. ^ Scripps Translational Science Institute. “Landmark research study is launched to assess impact of personal genetic testing.” Press release. (2008-10-09). Retrieved on 2008-10-15.
  16. ^ Scripps Translational Science Institute. “Landmark research study is launched to assess impact of personal genetic testing.” Press release. (2008-10-09). Retrieved on 2008-10-15.

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