Source: iStock/© gchutka
Source: iStock/© gchutka

Human Longevity Inc. (HLI) will partner with Discovery to offer whole exome, whole genome, and cancer genome sequencing to the insurer's clients in South Africa and the U.K.

HLI will offer a full exome sequencing and analysis for Discovery's clients priced at $250. HLI will provide the information to Discovery, which will deliver reports to its clients through its network of physicians and genetic counselors. The reports will detail clients’ genome findings, including disease risk and potential wellness strategies.

The partners said Discovery clients will receive regular updates as new scientific discoveries emerge, and will be able to access updated reports via specially designed web and app interfaces. Discovery and HLI added that they will implement “the highest standards of data security” to ensure that client data is fully protected.

Through their agreement, HLI will also receive de-identified data from participating Discovery clients. The combined genomic and phenotypic data will become part of the HLI database and will support HLI in further expanding what it said was the world's largest and most comprehensive collection of whole genome, phenotype, and clinical data.

“The de-identified genomic data will be used for extensive ongoing research with numerous collaborators around the world, and we are excited that together with our clients, we will be able to make a material contribution to global research efforts aimed at improving the health of populations and reducing the growing burden of diseases of lifestyle,” Discovery Health CEO Jonathan Broomberg, M.D., Ph.D, said in a statement.

Discovery will offer the services and make them available through its Vitality Program, designed to promote behavioral wellness among its clients by giving them the tools, knowledge, access, and incentives to improve their health. The program is designed to encourage behavioral change, and enable behavior-linked insurance pricing.

Founded in 1992, Discovery serves more than 4.4 million clients across South Africa—the insurer is headquartered in Johannesburg—as well as the U.S., Australia, China, Singapore, and the U.K..

In the U.K., the Discovery-HLI partnership will be available to clients of VitalityHealth, whose holistic healthcare approach integrates wellness and prevention programs with traditional health coverage to more than 550,000 customers. VitalityHealth is a wholly-owned business within Discovery Group and was previously a joint venture with Prudential known as PruHealth.

Discovery and HLI said they will also develop and open HLI Health Nucleus centers in the U.K. as well as South Africa. HLI Health Nucleus is a free-standing health center designed to supply clients with a complete biological and health assessment of themselves through genome, microbiome, metabolome sequencing, along with comprehensive MRI body scans and traditional clinical testing.

The first Health Nucleus is opening next month at HLI's San Diego headquarters.

“We believe that genomic understanding of individuals is one of the best ways to positively impact human health and health outcomes. Together Discovery and HLI are paving the way for a new healthcare future,” added J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., HLI co-founder and CEO.

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