Quest Diagnostics Launches Automated Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) Engine To Power AncestryHealth


A new innovation in advanced genetic sequencing automation from Quest Diagnostics will now enable individuals to access highly accurate genetic testing providing insights into inherited diseases including cancers of the breast, colon and other conditions through AncestryHealth®.

Quest developed a faster and cheaper way to perform next generation sequencing (NGS) to power AncestryHealth, a new consumer genetics offering launched by Ancestry® on August 3. AncestryHealth provides genetic screening of risks for an expanded set of health conditions such as heart disease, breast cancer, colon cancer and blood disorders. AncestryHealth powered by NGS looks at more regions in a person’s genome than microarray-based testing technology.

“This improvement in automating next generation sequencing will enable genetic screening faster and at much lower cost, and could have profound implications for healthcare in the future, truly empowering better health through actionable insights for millions of people who want to know more about their health risks,” said Steve Rusckowski, Chairman, Chief Executive and President, Quest Diagnostics. “The improvements our scientists have made in quality and productivity represent a step change for genetic testing. It wasn’t long ago that genetic sequencing took months and cost thousands of dollars. Quest’s proprietary innovation enables sequencing insights in a fraction of the time at a fraction of the cost.”

The new technology platform, developed at Quest’s Advanced Diagnostics Research and Development centers in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., and Marlborough, Mass., combines advancements at every stage of the process including sample miniaturization, lab automation, and state-of-the-art sequencing and bioinformatics pipelines. The launch marks a dramatic shift in consumer-initiated genetic testing, which, for the last decade, has largely been based on microarray technology. Because NGS technology can access orders of magnitude more of the genome, including challenging-to-sequence variants, the NGS technology that powers AncestryHealth does a better job of determining if someone is at greater risk for some of the most common inherited health conditions.

“When it comes to your health and your family’s health, the more you know the better,” said Ron Park, MD, EVP of Health and DNA at Ancestry. “Through Ancestry’s collaboration with Quest Diagnostics, we are able to expand access to valuable genetic health screening information at a time when health is top of mind for everyone.”

Quest is providing the technology for use in AncestryHealth and AncestryDNA® offerings under an exclusive agreement. Additional details of the agreement were not disclosed. Quest has supported AncestryDNA since 2017 using microarray technology at its Advanced Diagnostics Center of Excellence in Marlborough, Massachusetts.

AncestryHealth powered by NGS can achieve about 80-90 percent detection of inherited risk for specific health conditions.1 For breast and ovarian cancer, for example, this means the NGS technology powering AncestryHealth has a risk detection rate four times higher than most microarray-based tests.

About AncestryHealth
In 2019, Ancestry launched AncestryHealth® to empower people to take proactive steps – in collaboration with their healthcare provider – to address potential health risks identified in their genes and family health history. The tests offered by AncestryHealth® are physician-ordered and are not diagnostic. The tests are not reviewed or approved by the FDA and are not available in NY, NJ or RI.

About COVID-19 Testing at Quest Diagnostics
Quest Diagnostics is?at the forefront of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, working to broaden access to laboratory insights to help us all lead healthier lives. We provide?both?molecular diagnostic and antibody?serology?tests to?aid in?the diagnosis of COVID-19 and?immune response.?Our?COVID-19 test services?are based on?tests?that?have received FDA emergency use authorization?and which?also?meet our high standards for quality.?We are providing these test services under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act. We provide?data on?COVID-19?testing?to various federal and state public health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and participate in studies with government and private institutions,?aiding?COVID-19?public health?response?and research.?Through?our team of?dedicated?phlebotomists, air fleet team, couriers and?laboratory professionals, Quest Diagnostics?works hard every day to help patients and communities across the United States access quality?COVID-19 testing.???

About Quest Diagnostics
Quest Diagnostics empowers people to take action to improve health outcomes. Derived from the world’s largest database of clinical lab results, our diagnostic insights reveal new avenues to identify and treat disease, inspire healthy behaviors and improve health care management. Quest annually serves one in three adult Americans and half the physicians and hospitals in the United States, and our 47,000 employees understand that, in the right hands and with the right context, our diagnostic insights can inspire actions that transform lives.