Friday, October 24, 2014

Interview with 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki

Q: How does 23andMe make money? From the data more than the spit kits, surely?

A: We have partnerships with companies all the time–with pharma partners, with academic groups–and one of our main goals is to dramatically accelerate the pace of research.

One of the ways I can do that is by enabling individuals, instead of having to start a study de novo and recruit a thousand people with Parkinson’s, to get access to the database. Someone might come to us and say, we want to see if there are any genetic variants associated with people with asthma. Or someone might hypothesize that a variant in a gene is associated with a disease, and we can do a data query. Instead of actually having to do clinical trials the old-fashioned way, we could enable researchers to get their answers instantaneously. And they pay us for that.

There’s still a lot of redundancy in this industry because of competition. Part of my goal is to eliminate some of that commodity competition. If you’re going to be in a study for runners, you don’t want Harvard and have them sequence you and then have Princeton sequence you and then go to Pfizer to have them sequence you. Traditionally when you talk to people who have Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, they’ll talk about how they’re in five or six studies and they’ve been sequenced by each study. That’s just fat in the system. Just have a single data set that then you can share. You can make the entire system more efficient.

Q: Can you provide any recent examples of how pharma or other companies have used 23andMe data?

A: One of the projects we did was a study called InVite, with Genentech and Avastin. We were trying to recruit individuals who had been on Avastin for a long time who were seen as more highly responsive to it and see if there was a genetic association for why they were responding so well.

- More Here

No comments: