Global drugmaker GSK Plc is buying access to 23andMe's vast collection of consumer DNA information for the price of $20 million.
The genetic testing company announced Monday it would be extending its five-year collaboration with GSK to allow the London-based pharmaceutical company one year of data analysis assistance and non-exclusive access to an anonymized database. This summary data includes the genetic information of more than 80% of its users who have opted to participate in sharing their data for research purposes, which GSK has used for the last five years in its $300 million partnership to help in its research of new drugs and medications.
In return, 23andMe will receive a $20 million upfront payment. And although GSK will own any new drug discovery that may come from this research, 23andMe could be eligible for downstream royalties in certain instances.
23andMe is best known for analyzing customers' saliva samples to provide them with a genetic report on their health and ancestry.
Customers can then choose to opt in or out of sharing this information for research purposes, with the company saying a customer's choice to opt in can contribute to over 230 studies on average.
Using this data to collaborate with pharmaceutical companies, like GSK, can help "bring you opportunities to participate in clinical trials that evaluate treatments for diseases you care about," 23andMe says on its website.
The first research conducted in 23andMe and GSK's partnership was the clinical trial of an antibody drug that aims to block cancer-causing tumors.
"With approximately 50 programs developed over the last five years, we are thrilled to work with GSK in discovering genetically validated targets," said Anne Wojcicki, 23andMe CEO and co-founder. "The continued relationship with GSK demonstrates the power of the 23andMe research platform to consistently produce novel insights for therapeutic development, rooted in human genetics."
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