23andMe will launch the production of medicines
Ekaterina Makarova, Vademecum
The American company 23andMe, famous for DNA tests, plans to use its genome database in the independent development of drugs for various diseases.
The company's startup will be headed by Richard Scheller, former vice president of the Department of Research and Early Development of the American biotech corporation Genentech, Bloomberg reports (23andMe Turns DNA Data Into Drugs in Startup's Latest Twist).
23andMe has not yet chosen the specifics of the drugs it will produce, and is still deciding whether to run the business on its own or attract partners to launch clinical trials. However, according to Scheller, large pharmaceutical companies, by providing scientific laboratories and specialists, can assist in research until a potential drug is developed. Ann Wojcicki, President of 23andMe, explained that pharmaceutical partnerships will remain unchanged even in the face of potential competition.
The company signed a deal to provide access to its human genome database with Genentech and Pfizer in early January 2015. According to Wojcicki, several more similar agreements are planned in 2015.
In early 2015, after the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the sale of 23andMe DNA tests, the company announced its decision to enter the Western European market.
A total of $125 million has been invested in 23andMe since its foundation.
23andMe was founded in 2006; the company was headed by the wife of one of the founders of the Google search giant Sergey Brin, Ann Wojcicki. Google initially allocated $3.9 million for the development of the project. In total, 23andMe received $125 million of investments, among those who invested in the company are Google Ventures, Johnson & Johnson, Roche Venture Fund, New Enterprise Associates, MPM Capital and Yuri Milner. Over the years of its activity, the startup has sold more than 800 thousand genetic tests and collected a genome database of more than 650 thousand people.
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