26 July 2018 - Deborah Wilkes
GlaxoSmithKline has announced a four-year collaboration with 23andMe, and is taking a USD300 million stake in the privately-held consumer genetics and research company.
Commenting on the collaboration, GlaxoSmithKline said the exclusive arrangement would focus on "research and development of innovative new medicines and potential cures, using human genetics as the basis for discovery".
"The collaboration will combine 23andMe's large-scale genetic resources and advanced data science skills with the scientific and medical knowledge and commercialisation expertise of GlaxoSmithKline," added the company.
GlaxoSmithKline said the collaboration would "identify novel drug targets, tackle new subsets of disease and enable rapid progression of clinical programmes".
Founded in 2006, 23andMe provides genetic tests that allow people to find out more about their health and ancestry. Customers can also participate in research and contribute their information to a database, which GlaxoSmithKline said was now the "world's largest genetic and phenotypic resource".
More than five million customers
GlaxoSmithKline said the US-based company had more than five million customers.
Hal Barron – GlaxoSmithKline's chief scientific officer and president research and development – said partnering with 23andMe would shift the company's research and development organisation to be "driven by genetics".
Anne Wojcicki, 23andMe's chief executive officer and co-founder, said the collaboration would enable the company to "deliver what many customers have been asking for – cures or treatments for diseases".
Under the terms of the deal, GlaxoSmithKline and 23andMe have entered into a four-year collaboration with the option to extend for a fifth year. GlaxoSmithKline will be 23andMe's exclusive collaborator for drug target discovery programmes.
GlaxoSmithKline is contributing its LRRK2 inhibitor, which is currently in preclinical development as a potential treatment for Parkinson's disease, into the collaboration.
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