Asking Different Questions Than Everyone Else, with Sean George

Asking Different Questions Than Everyone Else, with Sean George

00:00 / 00:40:20

On this FYI episode, we are joined by Sean George, CEO and co-founder of Invitae one of the innovative frontrunners in the medical genetic testing space. (This episode was recorded: Sep. 10, 2019) Invitae is driven by the provision of affordable genetic testing, clinical-grade accuracy, and transparent reporting practices. In asking different questions than anyone else in the space, Invitae is spearheading a paradigm shift in the diagnostics industry.1

For them, finding scalable solutions, where anyone can access information about medical risks they face and then tailor solutions accordingly, is an ideal outcome. Sean also talks about the declining costs of DNA sequencing and the implications it has for the future of the medical genetics testing industry along with the host of other industries it will benefit. He also touches on how genetic testing can continue to change cancer treatment to ensure that all patients get comprehensive, tailored treatments that deal with the specificities of their case. While being an innovator in this space has provided altruistic benefits for many people outside of the company, finding investors has at times proved to be challenging for Invitae. Sean then gets into what the current investment landscape for biotech companies looks like as well as his suggestions for raising capital moving forward. For all this and more, join us today!


Key Points From This Episode:

  • How Invitae’s approach is different from others in the medical genetic space.
  • We are still in the midst of the technology revolution and genetic testing cloud be the last frontier.
  • Medical genetics goes far beyond just buying a sequencer.
  • Why many were frustrated with the outcomes of the Human Genome Project.
  • Many industries could benefit from the cost of decreased sequencing.
  • How Invitae goes about solving rare pathogenic variant findings on a case by case basis.
  • Diagnostic technology is complex, but it needs to provide simple, digestible answers.
  • Race and ethnicity could be viewed as cultural constructs rather than biological realities.
  • Some of the biggest changes Sean anticipates happening in the cancer diagnostic space.
  • Some genes can tell whether you are high risk for cancer or not.
  • An explanation of a liquid biopsy and how it is being used currently.
  • ‘Sean’s belief that a company’s inherent purpose is not cash flow but fulfilling its created purpose.
  • The shift in diagnostic testing is moving from a one size fits all to personalized program.
  • What is exciting as Invitae’s mission of driving costs down is being realized.



“We’re doing great good now by delivering information that otherwise people never would have got, but if we could do a genome on every sample instead, we could really start bending the curb on a population level, on the family level, on an individual level.”@seanegeorge

“The reason we started a company is because there is absolutely knowable information in your genes that may or may not confer incredibly high risk for cancer.”@seanegeorge

“You have to suspend reality for long enough, for enough people to try to do something different.”@seanegeorge

  1. Please note that as of 9/30/19, ARK’s clients held approximately 8.1% of Invitae’s shares outstanding.

ARK's statements are not an endorsement of any company or a recommendation to buy, sell or hold any security. For a list of all purchases and sales made by ARK for client accounts during the past year that could be considered by the SEC as recommendations, click here. It should not be assumed that recommendations made in the future will be profitable or will equal the performance of the securities in this list. For full disclosures, click here.