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Helix and Sanford Health Partner to Expand the Largest Rural Population Genomics Health Initiative in the U.S. to Improve Preventive Care

SAN MATEO, Calif., and SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (December 14, 2023) – Helix, the leading population genomics company in the nation, and Sanford Health, the largest rural health system in the United States, announced a partnership today to launch a new population genomics program that will drive precision medicine for communities in the Upper Midwest. Together, the partners aim to enroll 100,000 participants, providing actionable, early and preventive medical care insights for Sanford Health patients with Helix’s population genomics platform.

The program will build on the success of Sanford Imagenetics, which was established in 2014 and has served more than 70,000 patients through genetic screening and testing programs.

Through its comprehensive genomics platform, Helix collaborates with regional health systems to identify individuals who carry a distinct genetic predisposition for certain diseases and conditions, such as breast and ovarian cancer, colorectal cancer, and high cholesterol. Close to five million people face an elevated risk of health complications due to these genetic mutations. The Sanford Health program is set to become a national leader in population health initiatives, extending its reach to provide essential risk information to all participants and their health care providers.

“As we work to become the premier rural health care system in the nation, we need to take genomics to the next level and integrate genomic medicine more broadly across our patient population,” said Michael LeBeau, MD, System Vice President – Health Services Operations for Sanford Health. “Partnering with an organization like Helix allows us to bring together incredible leaders in genomics to benefit patient care. This strategic partnership is pivotal in our pursuit of a more profound understanding of the broader genomics landscape, not only within our own health system but across the health care industry.”

The insights provided by Sanford Health’s program, facilitated by the Helix population genomics platform, will empower patients and their health care providers to take preemptive measures aimed at potentially delaying, mitigating, or averting various life-threatening conditions. Through large-scale screening, the program will also equip Sanford Health with the capability to identify potential health risks that may be disproportionately affecting their community. This will enhance their understanding of the overall health of their population and facilitate the development of proactive health initiatives for the patients they serve.

As part of the program, Helix will also use population genomics data to expand its panel of genetic markers for additional health conditions. Thanks to its unique Sequence Once, Query Often® model, individual patients can have future genomic tests run without the need for an additional sample. Digital re-use will give providers and their patients continuous access to lifelong genomic information about their health.

“Our collaboration with Sanford Health serves as an invaluable contributor of critical information that will shed light on patients’ heightened susceptibility to diseases. These insights have the potential to help across generations, benefiting entire families,” said James Lu, MD, PhD, CEO and Co-Founder at Helix. “Through this program, Sanford Health is actively shaping the trajectory of modern medicine, empowering individuals to collaborate more closely with their providers and assume greater agency over their well-being. We are proud and excited to partner with them to gain a deeper understanding of precision medicine throughout the Upper Midwest and influence public health across the nation.”

Sanford Health is now part of Helix’s rapidly expanding group of population genomics partners across the United States. These initiatives have already started influencing providers’ health care choices, and the company is on track to test millions of Americans in years to come.

Optional participation in Sanford Health’s program will begin in early 2024.

About Helix

Helix is the leading population genomics and viral surveillance company. Helix enables health systems, public health organizations, and life sciences companies to accelerate the integration of genomic data into patient care and public health decision-making. Learn more at

About Sanford Health

Sanford Health, the largest rural health system in the United States, is dedicated to transforming the healthcare experience and providing access to world-class health care in America’s heartland. Headquartered in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, the organization serves more than one million patients and 201,000 health plan members across 250,000 square miles. The integrated health system has 46 medical centers, 2,800 Sanford physicians and advanced practice providers, 170 clinical investigators and research scientists, more than 186 Good Samaritan Society senior care locations and world clinics in nine countries around the globe. Learn more about Sanford Health’s commitment to shaping the future of rural health care across the lifespan at or Sanford Health News.

Media Contacts

Helix Media Relations

Sanford Health Media Relations

Jon Berg


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