Genomind Says Its Pharmacogenetic Testing Could Save Healthcare Thousands

The company just published new study results about the 6-month cost savings associated with a mental health drug efficacy assay.

Genomind’s proposition is relatively simple: Collect a saliva swab from a patient with a mental health condition; test that sample using a proprietary assay; use that information to guide mental health treatment.

The company has been around since 2009, but it has started to gain momentum lately. Since 2016, it has raised $32 million in funding in 3 venture rounds, and this week it released a new study of its potential to alter mental health treatment costs—the second report about the methodology to be published since December 2017.

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The new study appears in Depression and Anxiety. The technology at hand—Genomind’s Genecept Assay—is used to identify certain variants that may predict success or difficulty in treating mental health conditions with certain pharmaceuticals—it currently covers more than 20 drug classes and 97% of all medications approved to treat depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, attention-deficit disorder and autism. The goal was to find how that knowledge would impact cost of care at 6 months.

The researchers drew subjects from Aetna claims data, matching 817 patients with mood and anxiety disorders who were tested with Genecept Assay to 2,745 patients with similar conditions and demographics who were not.

Patients in the 2 cohorts at baseline had similar prescription rates for psychotropic medications and incidence of mood disorder-related hospitalizations. At 6 months, however, the testing group had 40% fewer emergency room visits and 58% fewer inpatient hospitalizations. The researchers estimated the average cost of care savings at just under $2,000.

Roy Perlis, MD, is a psychiatry professor at Harvard Medical School and 1 of the new study’s authors. He called tests like Genecept “a promising strategy to reduce the amount of medication trial and error and associated complications.”

The company’s other recent study, which looked at the clinical utility of the test, found that it did have an impact on pertinent physician prescribing habits: Nearly 500 patients were studied, and after testing 50.6% of their clinicians prescribed assay-congruent treatment regimens, decreasing prescription rates for drugs that have a genetic marker for intolerance by 17.6% and increasing use of others that did not.

As of September 2017, the company was recruiting for a prospective, randomized, open-label study in partnership with McLean Hospital in Massachusetts, according to clinicaltrials.gov.

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