Careers at Invitae
Invitae’s mission is to bring comprehensive genetic information into mainstream medical practice to improve the quality of healthcare for billions of people.
Locus Development, Inc., a genetic information company, was incorporated in 2010. It was co-founded by Sean George, Alex Furman, Michele Cargill, and Mat Falkowski. Its initial goal was to assist geneticists in conducting broad searches for rare, inherited genetic conditions. It is believed that there are more than 1,500 of these disorders, and they are typically difficult to diagnose.
The company’s early rounds of funding were successful, with $3.64 million in 2010 and $2.3 million in 2011, both from venture capitalists. In 2012 it had its first major cash infusion with $25.6 million in Series A funding. The same year its name was changed to Invitae Corporation. Invitae is pronounced “in-vee-tay” and is Latin for “in life”.
Investment efforts only grew moving forward, with $40 million in Series E funding in 2013 and $120 million in Series F funding in 2014. In 2015 the firm capitalized on its success by going public. Its now broader goal is to gather all types of genetic tests into a single service, whose results can be easily provided by health professionals on a quick turnaround basis.
Benefits at Invitae
Business model of Invitae
Invitae has a niche market business model, with specialized customer segments. It currently targets its services to genetic counselors and medical geneticists, professionals whom it views as early adopters who can engender greater clinical acceptance of innovative diagnostic processes such as multi-gene panels.
However, it plans to broaden its efforts to include neurologists, oncologists, cardiologists, and other healthcare practitioners.
Invitae offers four primary value propositions: accessibility, convenience, price, and performance.
The company increases accessibility by offering a wide range of gene panels to clinicians, who then identify options to patients. These include panels for over 120 conditions in cardiology, hereditary cancer, and neuromuscular, pediatric, and rare diseases. It has over 1,000 genes in production.
The company creates convenience by providing a single source, one-stop shop for the online ordering of any type of genetic test. Also, customers do not have to wait long for results as the turnaround time is typically no more than three weeks (compared to months for competitors).
The company aims to make genetic testing more affordable to the general public. It charges at a rate of $1,500 per indication (a disease area such as cardiology or neurology) regardless of the number of genes; patients pay an upfront deposit of $475. This enables them to obtain test results on all genes in a multi-gene panel or for a specific indication. Each test includes full gene sequencing and duplication/deletion analysis at no extra cost. The firm also provides a free selection of extra data within the same sample if it is requested within 90 days of the test. Invitae offers a discount that lowers the 1,500 price to $950 for distributors and institutions with which it is under contract.
The company has enhanced performance through its effective operations and impressive results. It bills itself as the sole clinical lab to produce a study with more than 1,000 patients that demonstrates strong analytical concordance (100%) and strong clinical concordance (99.8%) with BRCA testing. It has carried out numerous collaborative studies with prominent medical centers worldwide.
Invitae’s main channel is its direct sales team. It also markets its offerings through its main website and social media pages. Furthermore, it promotes its services through the following methods:
- Advertising on popular websites with related content
- Conducting PR campaigns
- Delivering presentations at scientific meetings and medical conferences
- Aligning with medical professional societies and patient advocacy groups to publicize the advantages of genetic testing
- Partnering with distributors who assist with sales
Invitae’s customer relationship is primarily of a personal assistance nature. Its sales team and client support staff members work closely with customers to ensure effective use of its offerings.
That said, there is also a self-service component as it provides a wide variety of resources on its website, including clinical and validation study results, presentation summaries, webinars, and a blog.
Invitae’s business model entails problem-solving, providing knowledge to its customers through staff that are continuously trained. Clients come back to the service regularly as needed for their genetic testing needs.
Invitae partners with distributors who assist the company with logistics, sales, customer support, and education. It also depends on a set of suppliers for a selection of its lab materials and instruments; these include Illumina, Agilent Technologies, Qiagen, Integrated DNA Technologies, and Roche Holdings. It does not main long-term agreements with any of its suppliers.
Invitae’s main resource is its staff of medical geneticists, genetic counselors, and scientists, who use their expertise to develop a curated menu of genetic tests and provide results that are clinically-relevant. It also depends heavily on its sales and client services groups to acquire and maintain strong relations with customers.
Moreover, it relies on its multi-disciplinary team of commercial and managed care experts, software engineers, bioinformaticians, graphic designers, web developers, and lab automation specialists to carry out its operations.
Invitae has an “economies of scale” cost structure, aiming to lower cost per unit of output as output expands. It plans to continue increasing the number of genetic tests it offers until it has the widest range of options possible. To accomplish this, it is focused on reducing cost of goods sold (COGS). In 2015, it decreased its COGS from $1,200 to $700 per sample. This resulted from volume growth and investments in production infrastructure that lead to more effective scaling. The company hopes to drive down COGS further to $500 by the end of 2016.
Invitae’s biggest cost driver is research and development expenses, a fixed cost. Other major drivers are in the areas of selling/marketing and administration (both fixed costs) and cost of revenue (a variable cost that includes expenses associated with supplies, equipment, personnel, and test delivery).
Invitae has one revenue stream -- it generates income from the selling of its genetic tests. Customers are billed following test result delivery to physicians.
Because the company does not have an extensive history of collection for most customers, it does not yet have a predictable pattern, and thus recognizes revenue when cash is received.
info: Randal earned a B.S. in Chemistry from Emporia State University and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Kansas. He previously held numerous leadership positions at Genomic Health, a genomic information firm he helped found in 2000.
info: Sean earned an M.S. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of California Santa Barbara and a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from the University of California Santa Cruz. He previously served as CEO of Invitae and COO of Navigenics.
info: Lee earned a B.A. in French and Political Science from Kalamazoo College and a J.D. from Stanford Law School. He previously acted as General Counsel for DNAnexus, and CFO and General Counsel for Nuvelo and Incyte.
info: Robert earned a B.S. in Applied Mathematics from Harvard College and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School in a joint Harvard-MIT program. He previously held leadership roles at UCSF Health and the National Institutes of Health.
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