Drugs tailored to your personal genomics: New partnership between 23andMe and GlaxoSmithKline

andme and its pharma connections
Credit: Casey Chin

The California-based [23andMe] is now focused on a partnership with pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline to discover new drugs using data culled from millions of 23andMe customers, and Wojcicki said [September 9] at the STAT Health Tech Summit that she hoped the company’s customers would “feel proud” if a drug developed with their data reaches the market.

[23andMe CEO Anne] Wojcicki, answering a question from moderator Matthew Herper of STAT, didn’t outline any specific steps that the company would take to ensure that its customers could benefit from medications developed with their data. Nor did she detail how 23andMe would work with GSK on access issues.

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Any such decisions are years away, a 23andMe spokesperson later noted, which should give the company time to figure out a way to ensure its customers benefit. The first medicine being developed by the partners, an anti-cancer antibody, is only now starting clinical trials.

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“If you look at our mission, it’s about people having access to, understanding, and benefiting from the human genome,” Wojcicki said. “I think that they can do that with information as well with medications.

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“I think there’s a lot to do with the marketing and messaging and actually how [a drug] is sold that we will be able to address when we’re lucky enough to actually have that kind of program,” she said.

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