Genetic testing company 23andMe recently announced that GlaxoSmithKline is paying $300 million for exclusive access to their DNA database.
According to healthcareweekly.com, this partnership will enable GSK to reinvigorate its business, which reportedly has some issues with slow growth in recent years. Discovering new drugs faster is the challenge GSK hopes to tackle with 23andMe a priority shared by many leaders in the pharma industry.
What GSK needs from 23andMe is access to the 5 million genetic profiles stored in its database. A vast majority of these profiles, roughly 80 percent or 3.5 million people, are available for research as users have already agreed to share their non-identifiable information.
The number of 23andMe customers should come as no surprise, especially since the announcement of the FDA’s approval to market its first health-related test, for Bloom syndrome, directly to consumers in 2015.
According to a recent GSK’s press release, the joint GSK-23andMe drug discovery team will seek out new targets for research based on likelihood of finding treatment. The deal also allows both companies to include their prior projects within the collaboration.
This partnership also means good news for 23andMe, hoping to be pioneers in the field of precision medicine and artificial intelligence, or using DNA to develop tailored treatments or medications that better address and adapt to the behaviors of certain genetic diseases. “This collaboration will enable us to deliver on what many customers have been asking for – cures or treatments for diseases,” said Anne Wojcicki, CEO and Co-Founder of 23andMe.