View Full Version : 23andMe lands $1.4 million grant from NIH to detect genetic roots for disease

Jean M
10-24-2014, 05:27 AM

Home genetics startup 23andMe has secured a $1.4 million two-year grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to build survey tools and expand its gene database. With these funds from NIH, an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the company intends to use its stores of genetic data for various research projects. External researchers will be able to access information on thousands of diseases and traits for more than 400,000 people. The grant "enables researchers from around the world to make genetic discoveries," Anne Wojcicki, chief executive officer of 23andMe, said in a statement.

The company said it has grown to 700,000 customers since 2006.

10-24-2014, 03:29 PM
I'm excited for 23andMe and at the same time nervous when it comes to accepting Government monies due to strings attached and the implications that could come with it.

Joe B
10-24-2014, 03:47 PM
I'm excited for 23andMe and at the same time nervous when it comes to accepting Government monies due to strings attached and the implications that could come with it.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has a pretty good reputation and is critical to medical research. Although the NIH is not perfect, there just is not another agency (government or otherwise) that can generate, fund and coordinate the amount of reseach that is needed for public health.

Scarlet Ibis
11-26-2014, 01:39 AM
Can't believe I'm just now seeing this. How promising that 23andme can show it's more useful than commercially advertised, but very very ironic, considering the clash they had with the FDA not too long ago. The US government, and its many administrative tentacles, are always full of surprises.

Jean M
01-06-2015, 05:22 PM

Surprise! With $60 Million Genentech Deal, 23andMe Has A Business Plan

A deal being announced today with Genentech points the way for 23andMe, the personal genetics company backed by Facebook billionaire Yuri Milner and Google Ventures, to become a sustainable business – even if the company’s discussions with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration stretch on for years.

According to sources close to the deal, 23andMe is receiving an upfront payment from Genentech of $10 million, with further milestones of as much as $50 million. The deal is the first of ten 23andMe says it has signed with large pharmaceutical and biotech companies.

Such deals, which make use of the database created by customers who have bought 23andMe’s DNA test kits and donated their genetic and health data for research, could be a far more significant opportunity than 23andMe’s primary business of selling the DNA kits to consumers. Since it was founded in 2006, 23andMe has collected data from 800,000 customers and it sells its tests for $99 each. That means this single deal with one large drug company could generate almost as much revenue as doubling 23andMe’s customer base.

Jean M
01-06-2015, 07:08 PM
23andMe, Genentech to analyze 3,000 Parkinson's genomes

Privately held 23andMe Inc and Genentech said on Tuesday they will work together to generate whole genome sequencing data for about 3,000 people with Parkinson's disease, in order to identify new therapeutic targets for treating the degenerative neurological condition.

23andMe, co-founded by Anne Wojcicki, the wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, will contribute the genome sequencing and data from its Parkinson's disease community. Genentech, a unit of Roche Holding AG, will work to identify potential therapeutics based on that information.


23andMe, Inc., the leading personal genetics company, today announced an agreement with Genentech, a member of the Roche Group (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY), to generate whole genome sequencing data for approximately 3,000 people in 23andMe's Parkinson's disease community. The goal of the collaboration is to identify new therapeutic targets for treating Parkinson's disease.

"We are incredibly excited to work with Genentech again, and for the potential to make true breakthroughs in therapeutic research and treatment for Parkinson's disease," said 23andMe president Andy Page. "23andMe's research platform is unlike any other for fueling genomic discoveries that have the potential to help treat and solve disease. This collaboration is truly emblematic of both companies' broader vision of improving the human condition through genetic research."

Jean M
01-07-2015, 03:56 PM
Razib Khan chimes in: 23andMe "Sells Out"...Are You Angry? http://www.unz.com/gnxp/23andme-sells-out-are-you-angry/

From what I know 23andMe has been losing money on the sales of kits. They were loss leaders. And 23andMe isn’t a non-profit. Though “insiders” have been talking for years how 23andMe has wanted to start selling its huge database to pharma/biotech, even if you were a casual consumer you could connect the dots and assume that there’s a reason they were collecting data on your traits and pestering you to fill in all sorts of personal details on your profile. It’s a business. And businesses try to work the angles to make a profit.

Nevertheless, some people are outraged. My question is simple: is there something about genetic and medical information that privileges it and makes it more precious than the enormous cloud of data private firms already have on you? I don’t think genes are magic, so I’m not convinced, though there are some real issues like life insurance risk for those with highly penetrant disease variants.

To answer Razib - no I'm not even faintly peeved. I predicted years ago that 23andMe could get research grants. I felt very much drawn to their research interests and pleased that my data might be useful in making breakthroughs in medicine. I think it needs to be clearly understood that for research purposes 23andMe does not want personal identification such as name and address. That is no use to them or firms that might use their genetic database for medical research. They don't need to know who you are. What they need to know is if condition X can be linked to genetic marker Y.

01-14-2015, 03:02 PM
23andMe Partners with Pfizer

23andMe will partner with Pfizer to conduct genome-wide association studies and surveys, as well as expedite clinical trial recruitment. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

According to Bloomberg, the Genetech and Pfizer deals are just the beginning for 23andMe: the firm will continue to pitch its database as a valuable resource to the biomedical community, and plans to announce a total of 10 similar partnerships this year.