February 06, 2024

Quality Matters: PreventionGenetics Celebrates 20 Years

The Marshfield-based genetics testing lab looks ahead as it continues its life-changing work and builds for the future.

Exterior of PreventionGenetics headquarters
In 2003, an international group of scientists finished mapping the human genome. By unlocking humans’ biological instructions, they ushered in a new era of biomedical research.
One year later, PreventionGenetics began operations. A research scientist and major contributor to the Human Genome Project, Dr. Jim Weber, founded PreventionGenetics based on a single idea: that genetic testing could help diagnose inherited diseases, allowing earlier treatment. 
In 2024, PreventionGenetics celebrates 20 years of improving lives through genetic testing. The company provides patients with germline DNA sequencing and copy number variant (CNV) tests for nearly all clinically relevant genes. Its comprehensive test menu includes whole exome sequencing, PGxome®, and whole genome sequencing, PGnome®, as well as pre-defined and custom panels. 
The laboratories’ tests provide individualized insights into the genetics behind many inherited diseases and conditions, including neuromuscular disorders, neurologic disorders, cardiovascular disorders, and cancer. Biopharma partnerships make tests available through sponsored testing programs.
Exact Sciences acquired the company in 2021 and continues to invest in rare disease testing. Today, it operates as a wholly owned subsidiary in the small city where it was founded. 
Some might find it surprising to discover a cutting-edge CLIA- and ISO-accredited clinical DNA testing laboratory in rural Wisconsin — Marshfield sits about 150 miles north of Madison, the state’s capital. The Ph.D. geneticists, genetic counselors, and other genetic experts who work there describe a close-knit team of professionals who share a patient-first mentality. 
Dr. Tony Krentz joined PreventionGenetics more than 12 years ago to help bring to market the company’s next-generation sequencing (NGS) assays. Since that time, he’s led teams in research and development, specimen processing, clinical operations, and informatics. Today, he serves as vice president of laboratory operations. 
Krentz reflects on the company’s progress over the years, noting that advances in the field and at the company have produced a significant reduction in turnaround times and the costs to perform testing. 
“When I started, we were a Sanger sequencing shop. I recall signing out cases for primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) that could take six months for a 12-gene panel and cost close to $10,000,” he says. “Our current PCD panel has 50 genes, costs less than $1,000, and delivers results in days, not months.  
“The amount of innovation at our site over the past 20 years is truly remarkable,” Krentz says. “We’re continuing to build upon our solid foundation. These past successes are helping to write PreventionGenetics’ future.”
That future is exciting, he adds.
“We are seeing more ordering providers start with exome and genome testing, which results in more genetic diagnoses earlier,” Krentz says. “We are working hard to make our services accessible to all.”   
Exact Sciences continues to invest in PreventionGenetics, planning to boost staff levels by roughly 30% in 2024 in laboratory, customer service, informatics, and commercial. The company currently receives orders from 84 countries around the world and expects to extend that reach.  
PreventionGenetics’ 20-year anniversary is one of several key milestones that Exact Sciences is celebrating in 2024. Its Cologuard® colorectal cancer screening test turns 10, and Oncotype DX® marks 20 years of providing breast cancer patients with life-changing guidance.
Bobby Adamov, vice president of commercial rare disease at PreventionGenetics, credits the company’s approach for its past success and bright future with Exact Sciences.
“One of Exact Sciences’ core values is quality, which is critical to patient care. PreventionGenetics has excelled for two decades by focusing on exactly that,” Adamov says. “Their commitment has led to the stability and longevity we see today.”