Although much progress has been made in the last 30 years, the field of genetics is still an open frontier with much left to discover and learn.
In 1990, the quest to map the human genome was funded with $3 billion by the US Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health. The project was expected to take 15 years. In an unusual twist – delivering a completed project before the deadline – the human genome was fully mapped by April 2003, two years early.
Since then, progress in the science and methodologies to map DNA has developed significantly, reducing the cost from billions to a few hundred dollars, making DNA mapping (or at least partial mapping) affordable to the general public.
This has given rise to notable B-2-C companies like Ancestry.com and 23andMe. In fact, the private equity firm Hendale Capital invested in 23andMe, a personal genomics and biotechnology company. 23andMe offers a proprietary FDA-approved genetic microarray test and web portal that helps consumers understand their health, genetic traits, and ancestry.
While most people are more familiar with these consumer facing companies that offer genomic testing, private equity firms have made more significant investments in portfolio companies involved in the field of rare genetic diseases, (sample transactions shown below).