Google to offer Foundation Medicine's cancer tests as latest health benefit

By Christina Farr SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Google will soon start covering the cost of Foundation Medicine's DNA tests for employees and their family-members suffering from cancer, as part of its health benefits portfolio. Foundation Medicine's chief executive Michael Pellini gave a nod to the deal with Google during a corporate earnings call on Wednesday, according to a person who listened in. Pellini said Google employees were made aware of this new benefit last week. Google declined to comment. Foundation Medicine helps steer oncologists to a drug treatment based on the patient's genetic profile. Its two commercially available tests range from $5,800 to $7,200. Google will start covering these tests in January, 2015. This move from Google follows an announcement from Silicon Valley tech companies Apple and Facebook that they would begin covering the cost of egg freezing for female employees. In Silicon Valley, where software developers are in short supply, companies are competing to offer new health benefits as a key means to recruit and retain talent. Google's investment arm Google Ventures has previously invested in Foundation Medicine. Google Ventures' partner Krishna Yeshwant sits on Foundation Medicine's board. (Reporting by Christina Farr; editing by Andrew Hay)