BillionToOne launches BabyPeek add-on to its UNITY prenatal test

Steven Loeb · March 20, 2024 · Short URL:

BabyPeek is a genetic test that allows parents to discover features and traits as early as 10 weeks

As we move towards more personalized medicine, the importance of precision diagnostics is increasing. Yet, most molecular diagnostics testing remains complex, inefficient, and out of reach for many people.

That's the problem being solved by BillionToOne (BTO), a molecular diagnostics company with a mission to create powerful and accurate tests that anyone can access.

"At BillionToOne, we’re transforming molecular diagnostics and significantly improving access and outcomes for patients with the most advanced and sensitive diagnostic tools," Jennifer Hoskovec, MS, CGC, Senior Director of Medical Affairs at BillionToOne, told VatorNews. 

The company currently offers the UNITY testa prenatal test that includes a maternal carrier screen and fetal risk assessment for recessive and chromosome conditions. Now it's expanding with the announcement of the launch of BabyPeek, a new genetic test that allows parents to discover features and traits, including potential eye color and food preferences, as early as 10 weeks.

BabyPeek is available exclusively as an add-on to the UNITY prenatal screen: once medical results are returned to the provider and the patient via web portal, patients can discover their baby’s gender and opt into learning results from BabyPeek for an additional cost; while the UNITY test is covered by insurance and FSA eligible, BabyPeek is not covered and costs $99 out of pocket.

"BabyPeek is a unique offering that may increase patients’ awareness of genetic screening and helps them understand the differentiated nature and technical aspects of our UNITY prenatal screen," said Hoskovec.

"BabyPeek was created to bring joy and provide light hearted information during pregnancy, such as when the baby might get their first tooth or the likelihood of a specific hair color. The BabyPeek add-on is a nice-to-have, not a need-to-have, and gives parents general insights into their baby’s features and traits. It does not provide specific details about the baby’s health."

BillionToOne works with doctor’s offices that offer its UNITY prenatal test to pregnant patients as early as 10 weeks of pregnancy, as well as oncology products that target patients with cancer.

The UNITY test, which is is currently used in nearly 1 in 15 pregnancies in the U.S., provides genetic information about the fetus at 10 or more weeks gestation. It's non-invasive, and doesn't require a partner sample at any point in the process to provide a fetal risk. It's also the only commercially available non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT) in the United States that assesses fetal risk for inherited recessive conditions using cell free DNA.

"We bring a hyper-quantitative approach to the world of molecular diagnostics. By combining different disciplines and approaches to diagnostics, we have been able to build technology that achieves singular molecule sensitivity that allows us to provide health information that has previously been unavailable," Hoskovec explained.

"Our number one goal at BillionToOne has always been and will be equity in care and accurate testing for all."

Since the pilot launch of BabyPeek in July 2023, thousands of patients have unlocked and viewed their results, which includes twelve unique features and traits, such as potential eye and hair color, likelihood of freckles, food preferences such as aversion to cilantro or inclination towards sweet vs. salty foods, and when to expect a baby's first tooth.

"Genetic screening can be a stressful part of a woman’s pregnancy, but it's important to note that not all genetic information is strictly medical. Our goal with BabyPeek is to spark a deeper interest in genetics by showing expectant parents that genetic testing can also be used to make fun predictions about their baby," said Hoskovec.

"With this, we hope to alleviate some of the anxieties commonly associated with genetic screening."

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