Soon, the business of genetics could look a lot like the commodity-driven mobile industry, with providers selling hardware on the cheap and relying on software, apps and diagnostics to drive revenue. And, as with the app-filled smartphones we keep close to us 24/7, genomics could finally become a much more intimate part of our lives.
“With smartphones it’s the data and apps where the high value has accrued over time. In the case of sequencing, it’s going to be something similar,” said Jorge Conde, CFO and co-founder of Knome, a genomic diagnostics company. The question, he says, then becomes whether the market looks like Apple’s walled garden, Microsoft’s more democratic model, or Google, where everything happens in the cloud.