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Genomics Startup Helix Acquires HumanCode, Grows Leadership Team


The move puts Helix in Denver’s vibrant tech market.

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Helix, the deep-pocketed personal genomics startup that aims to democratize DNA, has purchased a next-generation genomics application developer called HumanCode for an undisclosed sum, according to an announcement.

The news doesn’t end there. Helix also unveiled its expanded senior leadership team—with the addition of chief financial, marketing, and product officers—and the opening of an office in Denver, Colorado, which is home to HumanCode and a growing tech workforce.

>> READ: Handling the Headaches of At-Home Genetic Testing

“We are gaining valuable talent in priority, high-demand areas like engineering and product design and are getting the benefit of an integrated team that has deep experience working together to build engaging consumer experiences in digital health,” Helix CEO Robin Thurston, MS, said in a statement. “We are very excited for what this means for Helix and for our partners.”

Thurston went on to praise the work done by HumanCode, whose co-founders and entire staff are joining Helix. They will be charged with boosting the customer experience and support for developers who partner with Helix, according to the announcement.

Helix created and runs what it calls “the first marketplace for DNA-powered products,” enabling people to explore personalized products made by its partners. The startup takes on sample collection, sequencing, and data storage, powering those third-party developers to take advantage of DNA insights for projects related to health, ancestry, and more. Its store contains 35 products, each one tested by Helix’s scientific team, made by 20 developers.

Since its establishment in 2015, Helix has raised $320 million, according to the startup tracker Crunchbase. Earlier this year, the California-based company landed $200 million in Series B funding, the second largest investment round for any health-tech company in the first quarter.

The upstart will look to expand its footprint going forward under the guidance of Ajay Gopal, chief financial officer, who comes from StubHub; Deena Bahri, chief marketing officer, who comes from several ecommerce ventures, such as Birchbox; and Chris Glode, a HumanCode co-founder.

Helix, meanwhile, believes Denver provides a key stage for the company to reach its full potential. Using a nickname among tech circles, the company referred to the region as Silicon Mountain. And local politicians also like Helix’s decision to move to the Mile-High City.

“Their long-term commitment to the market shows our value as a true innovation hub,” Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said.

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