Tuesday was announced that Genentech and privately owned 23andMe are teaming up to start a research that would hopefully find new treatments for patients living with Parkinson’s disease. Together, the two companies will be sequencing data for as close to as 3,000 people.
This marks the closing of the first deal that 23andMe has made this year with a major pharmaceutical company. But chances are it won’t be the last. A spokeswoman for the company said that in the next few months 23andMe is expected to sign additional seven or eight such contracts.
Although the companies involved have not yet disclosed the financial terms agreed upon, the spokeswoman unveiled that 23andMe initially cashed in $ 10 million, and will receive another $ 50 million in the next months.
For 23andMe the deal is of great importance as it comes at a decisive time. The company had collected over 800,000 samples of their customers’ DNA, receiving saliva probes via mail-home kits. The 2006 founded company would sell its tests for $ 99 a piece. With that data, the company would convey to their clients information about their ancestry and their health. The Food and Drug Administration stopped this process in 2013, as concern for the accuracy of the information given was increasing. Over misinformation customers of 23andMe were inclined to make rash decisions regarding their health.
Although negotiations with the FDA led 23andMe nowhere, the company has since 2013 tried to launch its kits in Canada and United Kingdom. Also it had previously made deals up with big pharmaceutical companies in order to map the DNA of about 10,000 patients suffering from inflammatory bowel disease.
In the United States alone, as close to 1 million people are affected by the neuron-degenerative disease, and for 23andMe founder, Anne Wojcicki, fighting it is of personal importance. Her Husband, billionaire Google co-founder, Sergey Brin was discovered to have the genetic mutation that is related with Parkinson’s.
The couple has reportedly donated over $ 150 million to Michael J. Fox Foundation that focuses on researching the disease. Presently, there are no cures or treatments for Parkinson’s. there are, though, few medications that can help patients with their symptoms.
Image Source: WebMD
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