GlaxoSmithKline Invests $300 Million in 23andMe

MOUNTAIN VIEW — British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has made a $300 million investment in 23andMe.

The companies also unveiled an exclusive four-year collaboration that will 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 GSK. The goal of the collaboration is to gather insights and discover novel drug targets driving disease progression and develop therapies for serious unmet medical needs based on those discoveries. 

With over 5 million customers, 23andMe offers those with an interest in genetics the opportunity to learn more about their personal genetic profile. 23andMe customers can also choose to participate in research and contribute their information to a unique and dynamic database, which is now the world’s largest genetic and phenotypic resource.

23andMe was founded in 2006 by Anne Wojcicki, former wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin. The company is named after the 23 pairs of chromosomes in a typical human cell.

GSK brings extensive drug discovery and development capabilities across a broad range of diseases and modalities, including small molecule, biopharmaceuticals and cell and gene therapies. It will apply its world-class technologies, including access to additional data sources, in-house target validation and genetics expertise, and utilise its manufacturing, commercial operations and scale to support partner activities across research and development.

Dr. Hal Barron, Chief Scientific Officer and President R&D, GSK, said; “We are excited about this unique collaboration as we know that drug targets with genetic validation have a significantly higher chance of ultimately demonstrating benefit for patients and becoming medicines.  Partnering with 23andMe, an organisation whose vision and capabilities are transforming the understanding of how genes influence health, will help to shift our research and development organisation to be ‘driven by genetics’, and increase the impact GSK can have on patients.”

Anne Wojcicki, CEO and Co-Founder of 23andMe, said; “This collaboration will enable us to deliver on what many customers have been asking for — cures or treatments for diseases.  By leveraging the genetic and phenotypic information provided by consenting 23andMe customers and combining it with GSK’s incredible expertise and resources in drug discovery, we believe we can more quickly make treating and curing diseases a reality.”