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Preconception Genetic Testing Firm Orchid Raises $4.5M in Seed Funding

NEW YORK — Preconception genetic testing startup Orchid said on Wednesday that it has raised $4.5 million in seed funding that it will use to help launch its saliva-based disease risk test.

The financing included investments from Refactor Capital, Village Global, Day One Ventures, Olive Capital, and Boom Capital, as well as the founders of 23andMe, Counsyl, Clover Health, Coinbase, Eventbrite, Flatiron, Oscar Health Insurance, and Stellar.

San Francisco-based Orchid's test, called the Couple Report, sequences potential parents' DNA using self-collected saliva samples to assess their future child's genetic predisposition to heart disease, stroke, atrial fibrillation, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, breast cancer, prostate cancer, type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease. The test also evaluates the potential parents' individual risk for each disease.

Orchid said that if an elevated risk is detected by its test, couples can choose to take steps to protect their future children such as monitoring biomarkers, changing diets, or electing for in vitro fertilization. If a couple pursues IVF, the company said it will offer a report based on the analysis of embryo biopsy samples to help prioritize embryos prior to transfer.

"Having children is the most consequential choice most of us make, yet parents go into pregnancy with zero visibility into how genetic risks could impact their future child," Orchid Founder and CEO Noor Siddiqui said in a statement. "With Orchid's ultra-high-resolution reports, prospective parents can now conceive with confidence, prepared with information and guidance to give their children a better chance at a healthy life."

"Genetics impacts every person's health, yet most of us walk through life unaware of our unique genetic makeup including health risk," added Carlos Bustamante, a professor of biomedical data scientist and genetics at Stanford University. "By harnessing population genetics, statistical modeling, reproductive technologies, and the latest advances in genomic science, Orchid will give many folks the chance to be parents and use science to help improve their families' genomic health."

Bustamante, who also is founding director of the Stanford Center for Computational, Evolutionary, and Human Genomics, is an investor in Orchid and an adviser to the firm.

Orchid said that it has opened a waitlist for early access to its test.