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Photos: Color Genomics; Illustration: Rebecca Zisser

As chief medical officer for Color Genomics, Jill Hagenkord sees her job as harnessing the smarts of the tech industry while explaining some of the practical realities of the health care field.

"I feel sometimes like I am the grown up in the room," Hagenkord, who previously worked at 23andMe, told Axios. "I try to show them where the bumpers are, where the big bright lines are... I help them pick their battles...There's conventions you can break and then there's laws you can't break."

Under the hood: Color, which offers a $249 test to help people understand their risk for genetically tied breast, colon and ovarian cancers, has tapped an array of Silicon Valley talent, including recent hires from Fitbit and Twitter. While its labs are fully credentialed, the company isn't looking for insurers to pay for its test. Instead, the company has tried to reach a price where consumers or their self-insured employers are willing to foot the bill.

Here are a few more key points from our interview:

Why genetic tests for cancer: Until recently, genetic testing was done only on sick people, or those who knew themselves to be a high risk. But, a mutated gene like BRCA can raise a woman's risk of getting breast cancer to 80 percent from the typical 10 percent. And the latest technology makes it affordable to test for that, and other genetic markers. "Everyone really should be screened."

On regulators: "Everybody is pushing FDA to modernize. That's like watching grass grow."

Next for Color: The company is looking to test for other diseases, things like a genetic predisposition to high cholesterol. Getting those rare people on drugs early could clearly save lives, while a broader conversation is needed even for those without a genetic link. "We've studied this to death," Hagenkord said, adding that nonetheless 60 percent of people supposed to be on statin drugs are not taking them and half of people go off the drugs in the first six months.

Go deeper

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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

9 hours ago - Health

CDC extends interval between COVID vaccine doses for exceptional cases

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.