Fulgent Genetics and Columbia University Irving Medical Center Partner on Expanded Carrier Screening

January 3, 2019

Fulgent Genetics and the Precision Genomics Laboratory, in collaboration with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center announced today a new partnership to make on-site performed, expanded carrier screening available to Columbia patients. This unique collaboration will leverage both parties’ expertise in laboratory management, bioinformatics, clinical genetics and next-generation sequencing to deliver an expanded carrier screening test with many advantages over other currently available tests.

The PGL is jointly operated by the Institute for Genomic Medicine and the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology and is designed to enhance patient care through genomic diagnostics, research, and education at CUIMC.

Carrier screening is a genetic test used to identify whether individuals and carrier couples are at risk for passing genetic disorders to their children. These genetic disorders may result in physical disabilities, cognitive impairment, and other severe health problems in newborn babies. Traditionally, carrier screening tests targeted couples of certain ethnic groups that have historically been at higher risk for specific genetic disorders. This approach has presented difficulties for patients who are multiracial, adopted, or are unsure of their ethnic backgrounds. To address this challenge, expanded carrier screening (ECS) was developed to test for mutations that cause hundreds of different genetic disorders regardless of a patient’s ethnicity.

Professional medical associations like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics have published guidelines on ECS and its importance in reproductive care.

“We are extremely excited to partner with such a prestigious institution in a collective effort to help improve patient care by offering expanded carrier screening as a routine test to Columbia patients,” said Brandon Perthuis, Vice President of Commercial Operations at Fulgent Genetics.   

“This collaboration will help us to bring high-quality reproductive genomic testing to our patients,” said the IGM’s David Goldstein, “and will enable the Institute for Genomic Medicine and Fulgent Genetics to leverage our strengths in genomic medicine and clinical genetics to co-develop a range of new tests in the future.”

“The Fulgent partnership is another exciting step in the evolution of precision medicine clinical testing at CUIMC and the PGL. The Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, in partnership with Fulgent, the IGM, and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, looks forward to providing reproductive genomic testing to CUIMC patients,” said Dr. Kevin Roth, Chair, Department of Pathology and Cell Biology.

“We are thrilled to partner with Fulgent Genetics to bring reproductive genomic testing to our patients,” said Dr. Mary D’Alton, Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at CUIMC. “Prenatal diagnosis has significantly enhanced our ability to counsel patients at risk for genetic disease in advance of delivery, but carrier screening will transform our field even further. Patients who are eager to conceive are increasingly seeking genetic information to help them make informed decisions as they build their families, and our partnership with Fulgent will make this possible for many more women and couples.” Dr. Ronald Wapner, Director of Reproductive Genetics in the Department of Ob/Gyn and the IGM added “this service will allow us to continue to lead the provision of personalized medicine care in women’s health.”

Read the full press release here.