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23andMe expands into the drug discovery business

Firm will use its genetic data for its new research arm

23andme genetic research 

Personal genetics firm 23andMe has revealed it is to launch a new drug discovery and development division.

The new 23andMe Therapeutics unit will utilise the human genetics data the company has collected via its research platform and use this as a starting point for identifying new therapies for common and rare diseases.

The creation of the therapeutics groups in connection with the company's research platform is hoped to be a step towards a better understanding of the biological mechanisms of disease and accelerate the discovery of novel treatments.

It will be led by Richard Scheller, former executive VP of research and development at Genentech, who will additionally be in charge with recruiting scientists and researchers for the division effective from April of this year.

Scheller commented: “I have dedicated my life to research aimed at fulfilling unmet needs for very sick people. I believe that human genetics has a very important role to play in finding new treatments for disease/

“I am excited about the potential for what may be possible through 23andMe's database. It is unlike any other.”

23andMe CEO and co-founder Anne Wojcicki added: “With Dr Scheller joining the team, we are putting significant resources into translating genetic information into the discovery and development of new therapies for our customers and the world.”

Google-supported 23andMe has previously entered into deals with Pfizer and Genentech that allowed the companies to use the information in their customer-submitted storage of information.

Last month the FDA, following its scathing warning letter in 2013, approved the company's at-home Bloom Syndrome carrier test, which determines whether a healthy person has a variant in a gene that could lead their offspring to inherit serious disorders.

Article by
Kirstie Pickering

19th March 2015

From: Research

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