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GSK partnership will use 23andMe data to develop new treatments

GSK and 23andMe have inked 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 companies said collaboration would combine 23andMe’s large-scale genetic resources and advanced data science skills, with the scientific and medical knowledge and commercialization 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 also can 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.

“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,” GSK chief scientific officer and president of research and development Hal Barron said. “Partnering with 23andMe, an organization whose vision and capabilities are transforming the understanding of how genes influence health, will help to shift our research and development organization to be ‘driven by genetics’, and increase the impact GSK can have on patients.”

“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,” 23andMe CEO and co-founder Anne Wojcicki said.

Together, GSK and 23andMe will focus on translating genetic and phenotypic data into research and development activities that will:

  • Improve target selection to allow safer, more effective ‘precision’ medicines to be discovered;

  • Support identification of patient subgroups that are more likely to respond to targeted treatments; and

  • Allow more effective identification and recruitment of patients for clinical studies. The ability to identify and invite patients with a particular disease, and in case-specific genetic subgroups, to participate in studies that are relevant to them could significantly shorten recruitment and reduce clinical development timelines, allowing medicines to be delivered to patients more efficiently.

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