NEW YORK & CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--GenePeeks, Inc., a genetic information company focused on pre-conception risk prediction, announced today it has launched Matchright™, a patented screening service for families who are planning to use a sperm donor to conceive. The service, which enables women to reduce the risk that a future child will inherit hundreds of life-threatening and life-altering diseases, is available at genepeeks.com.
GenePeeks digitally combines client and donor DNA information to create and analyze the “virtual genome” of a hypothetical child, evaluating risk for more than 500 recessive genetic diseases. The company’s innovative approach uses a Next-Generation sequencing platform to look deep inside a future child’s potential genome to uncover disease risk that cannot be seen with existing pre-pregnancy screening tools.
Through partnerships with two accredited sperm banks, the Matchright™ analysis generates a personalized catalogue of risk-reduced donors for each prospective mother, filtering out donor matches with a high probability for passing on the conditions that the company targets. This process is layered on top of the sperm donor industry’s current genetic screening protocol, which determines a donor’s carrier status for just a handful of recessive diseases.
“We are proud to launch Matchright™ and give parents a new way to protect their future children from hundreds of severe pediatric diseases,” said Anne Morriss, CEO of GenePeeks. “The service is based on the scientific reality that a healthy sperm donor for one woman might be a risky match for another woman. The best way to assess this kind of risk is to digitally combine the DNA information of a woman and her donor. This is what GenePeeks does.”
The Matchright™ service starts with the premise that all healthy adults – including all qualified sperm donors – carry multiple recessive disease mutations. These mutations pose a low risk to the majority of a sperm bank’s clients, but significant risk to the particular client who happens to carry a mutation in the same disease gene.
Matchright™ analysis typically removes about 20% of sperm donors from the personalized catalogue of each client. Among a group of early users of Matchright™, an average of 22% of sperm donors were removed from each client’s custom donor catalogue. The service does not provide personal genetic information or disease-specific risk data.
How GenePeeks’ Analysis Works
GenePeeks is combining next-generation DNA sequencing with molecular modeling to estimate the risk of severe pediatric diseases in hypothetical future children. The patented process, invented by Lee Silver, GenePeeks co-founder and professor at Princeton University, generates thousands of digital sperm and eggs, each containing a single copy of each of the hundreds of sequenced genes from each potential parent. The digital sperm and eggs are joined together to produce a pool of one thousand hypothetical “digital baby” genomes per pairing, each of which are assessed through clinical databases and molecular modeling to determine whether they express any of the 500 heritable conditions covered by the analysis. Finally, the process integrates this information to determine the risk profile of prospective biological parents.
The process anticipates complex genetic interactions in hypothetical progeny rather than simply adding together the test results of prospective parents, the current process for reproductive risk analysis. The result is a highly sensitive, but non-diagnostic, estimate of disease risk in the genomes of virtual offspring.
GenePeeks is a genetic information company focused on identifying inherited disease risk in future generations before conception. GenePeeks digitally combines the genetic information of two potential parents, using innovative algorithms to simulate the genetic interactions that occur naturally in human reproduction.
Using this technology, GenePeeks creates and analyzes thousands of hypothetical “digital babies” to uncover disease risk that cannot be seen with existing pre-pregnancy screening tools. The company’s initial focus is the donor sperm industry. GenePeeks has developed a safe, noninvasive process for helping sperm bank clients avoid donor matches that carry a high risk of passing on life-threatening and life-altering conditions.
Company founder and CEO Anne Morriss understands the urgent need for better genetic information. Her son was born with a rare genetic disorder that could have been identified with GenePeeks’ technology. She joined co-founder Lee Silver, Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University, in launching the company to help families protect their future children. GenePeeks is privately held, with offices in New York, NY and Cambridge, MA. For more information, visit www.genepeeks.com.