Pharma insight on digital marketing, social media, mobile apps, online video, websites and interactive healthcare tools
by Dominic Tyer
California-based genetic testing company 23andMe has acquired Curetogether in a deal it says will enhance its capacity for 'people-powered research'.
Curetogether was launched in 2008, with an initial focus on helping people who live with chronic pain, while 23andMe, whose investors include Roche and Johnson & Johnson, offers a personal genome service and web-based research programmes.
“A driving force for the acquisition is the alignment of core values we share with CureTogether,” 23andMe CEO and co-Founder Anne Wojcicki. “It underscores 23andMe's commitment to helping individuals understand their own genetic information through proven DNA analysis technologies and web-based interactive tools; and generating patient-driven, informed-consent research as well as empowering our customers to use their personal genetic information to find connections and establish communities based on their DNA.”
Both companies are built around online social communities and 23andMe said the deal would bring it additional tools and systems for gathering data from health-based communities.
23andMe's customer communities include a disease-specific research communities for Parkinson's disease, sarcoma, myleoproliferative neoplasams and the Roots Into The Future research community for African-Americans.
The company's interest in Parkinson's was extended last year to the realm of intellectual property when it was awarded its first patent for a variant in the SGK1 gene that may be protective against Parkinson's disease.
Meanwhile, CureTogether's platform includes more than 4m phenotypic data points across those different health conditions that could help inform future genetic discoveries.
“There are tremendous opportunities for our members and for future research by integrating the 23andMe and the CureTogether platforms and phenotypic data,” explained CureTogether Co-Founder Daniel Reda, who joins 23andMe as senior product manager.
Earlier this year Curetogether released the first results from its bipolar treatment study. This involved 227 patients who said the condition was best managed without drugs and reported the most effective interventions to be exercise, reducing alcohol intake and a better regimented sleep schedule.
The most popular drug treatment in the three-year study was Roche's Klonopin (clonazepam), while Lilly's market-leading Zyprexa (olanzapine) languished outside the top three.