With the expansion (from 12 to 25 types) of the DTC (direct to consumer) parent-child genetic testing range, the private market for genetic test has got time to take a break. The genetic testing industry will officially open and expand its market as the testing of chronic diseases and cancer genes is allowed. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy held the "First Special Review Meeting on Industrial Integration Restrictions" on the 11th in the Korea Chamber of Commerce and passed the application of Macrogen (research institute specializing in genetic testing) for "DTC genetic testing".
Macrogen, a genetic analysis agency, asked to expand the test items of genetic testing to 25 from 12 on Jan. 17 this year, including chronic diseases, diseases of the elderly, cancer, etc.
After Macrogen’s application was approved, genetic testing could be used to analyze the degree of risks arising from 5 major cancers including gastric cancer and 13 major diseases including hypertension and diabetes, etc. 4.27 million people suffer from diabetes in South Korea, so it can be predicted that there will be 7 to 8 million "DTC genetic testing" customers.
The expansion of the private genetic testing project has been designated as the regulatory "sandbox". In the future, the market of "DTC genetic testing" in South Korea will develop rapidly, and the sales of related enterprises will be expected to increase.
Previously, "DTC genetic testing" was only limited to 12 diseases, such as Body Mass Index (BMI), blood pressure, aging, etc. To understand the risk of other diseases, it was necessary to go to medical institutions for genetic testing, so there were many problems in market expansion.
The industry estimates that at least 5% (2.5 million people) of the population in South Korea will accept "DTC genetic testing". 5% of the population is not only an important datum point for big data, but also an important standard to stimulate the growth of the genetic testing market.
When Jungseon-Seo, Chairman of Korean Biological Association, was interviewed by News 1 through telephone, he said that "if more than 5% of the total population accepts DTC genetic testing, the relevant industry will usher in a turning point. We will have the core resources to cultivate the market scale and establish start-ups - big data."
The domestic genetic analysis industry in South Korea is emulating the American market. There has been a trend of "looking for genetic roots" in America, and 17 million people have been tested, accounting for 5.2% of the total population in America. Actress Angelina Jolie cut breasts in advance through genetic examination after analyzing the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
At present, America, Japan and other major developed countries have had no restrictions on DTC, and the market has been managed by government policies. According to the report of "Credence Research", an agency specializing in market survey, the market scale of the global "DTC genetic testing" will reach KRW400 billion by 2022.
The genetic analysis circle is in favor of the relaxation and plans to further require the government to introduce "negative restrictions" so as to bring the market closer to the level of developed countries. "Negative restrictions" refer to the permitted regulation except for acts prohibited by law or policy. The government’s intervention is reduced, and the industry will also be active, which is a regulatory mitigation plan that has been strongly demanded by the industry.
Chairman Jungseon-Seo said: "Allowing DTC genetic testing for cancer and major diseases of the elderly will be of great help to the market. If negative restrictions are introduced in the future, it will create gene big data. By then, there will be up to 1,000 startups triggered by the development of the biological industry."