23andMe customers might just play a role in helping create one of Big Pharma’s next blockbuster drugs. On [July 25, 2018], the genetic testing company announced it was entering a partnership with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to develop new drugs and therapies. As part of the collaboration, the company will allow GSK to peek at the (voluntarily shared) genetic data of millions of people who have taken 23andMe’s DNA home testing kits, NBC News reports.
According to NBC News, GSK will invest $300 million into 23andMe. The companies have also signed a four-year deal that will grant GSK exclusive rights to drugs developed with the help of 23andMe’s data. In a statement to Gizmodo, a 23andMe spokesperson described the fundraising deal as “separate from this [research] collaboration.”
Given 23andMe’s windfall, some ethics experts are advocating that customers should get a slice of the pie, too.
“It’s one thing for NIH to ask people to donate their genome sequences for the higher good,” Peter Pitts, president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, told NBC News. “But when two for-profit companies enter into an agreement where the jewel in the crown is your gene sequence and you are actually paying for the privilege of participating, I think that’s upside-down.”
Read full, original post: 23andMe Is Getting Lots of Money From Big Pharma and Sharing Your Genetic Data.