Counsyl Gets $80M Birthday Present

Ryan Black

The genetic testing company celebrated its birthday in style, adding a new board member and a huge investment.

Most 10-year-olds don’t get $80 million for their birthdays. Most 10-year-olds, however, aren’t Counsyl.

The genetic testing company celebrated its anniversary by announcing a new 8-figure investment from the New York-based life sciences firm Perceptive Advisors.

Counsyl co-founder and CEO Ramji Srinivasan said the financing will support continued growth with an emphasis on “making expanded carrier screening as routine as taking folic acid, non-invasive prenatal screening as routine as an ultrasound, and hereditary cancer screening as well-known as a pap smear.” In a statement, the company called the deal a sign of “investor confidence in Counsyl’s leading genetic screening products and business model.”

The company focuses on prenatal testing to check for genetic conditions and inform fertility decisions, though it also offers carrier screenings for certain cancers. The company touts its quick turnaround times, which it attributes to a Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments-certified lab that is “among the most automated and advanced in the world.” It claims that a patient can view the results online about 2 weeks after returning a saliva sample.

Counsyl’s tests are consumer-initiated but require a physician’s approval. The company said it has screened more than 850,000 patients since its founding in 2007.

Perceptive Advisors’ portfolio manager explained her firm’s $80 million bet in strong terms. "Counsyl has been a true pioneer in women’s health screening,” Sam Chawla said. “The company is well-positioned to lead the industry and we look forward to supporting their continued growth.”

In addition to the financial injection, the company also added a new member to its board of directors. Lily Sarafan, CEO of Home Care Assistance, will join the panel to offer insights and experience. In the statement, she said the 2 companies “share the same values of providing intelligent and compassionate care to patients who need it most.”