Generation Health Growing Boston-Area Presence, Backed by Highland Capital Partners

3/18/09

Though Generation Health, launched last year with backing from Highland Capital Partners and others in the Boston area, is based in New Jersey, it’s staging much of its effort to build a novel benefits management system for genetic tests here in Massachusetts. And Per Lofberg, the firm’s chairman and CEO, tells Xconomy that he anticipates that its Bay State operations will continue to expand.

The Upper Saddle River-based startup this month hired Douglas Walton, a former vice president of medical information provider WebMD Health, who will be the firm’s chief technology officer based in the Boston area. The firm is developing some of the technology behind its planned service in the Waltham offices of founding companies D2Hawkeye, a heath data analytics firm, and Correlagen Diagnostics, which operates a genetic testing laboratory and develops genetic tests. Also, Stanley Lapidus, a well-known founder of Massachusetts life sciences companies Cytyc (now Hologic), Exact Sciences (NASDAQ:EXAS), and Helicos BioSciences (NASDAQ:HLCS)—joined the board of directors at Generation Health late last year.

The company sees a major opportunity in offering benefit management services for the rapidly growing field of genetic testing. Genetic tests—which analyze patients’ DNA, RNA, or other biological materials for information that can help diagnose diseases, predict the effectiveness of drugs, and screen fetuses for chronic illnesses—are rapidly becoming more central to healthcare in the U.S. There are now more than 600 labs in the country that provide genetic tests for some 1,700 diseases, according to GeneTests, a nonprofit group based at the University of Washington in Seattle. Generation Health says it’s building the technology and organization needed to help health insurers, companies, and other providers of health benefits decide which genetic tests are the most useful and how and whether the tests should be covered under health plans.

“This whole area is sort of exploding right now [and] there’s new stuff coming out almost every week that offers new opportunities to use genetic testing to personalize or tailor treatments for individuals,” says … Next Page »

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