Clinical OMICS

SEP-OCT 2018

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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Page 10 of 51 September/October 2018 Clinical OMICs 9 do better research," said Greely, professor (by courtesy) of genetics at Stanford School of Medicine. "Plus, they've got the fallback that if nothing else, they've got some stock in the company that may be worth something." GSK is among biopharma giants intent on enhancing their drug R&D by accessing 23andMe's data. Genentech and Pfizer also have collaborations, as do several academic institutions, according to a 23andMe spokesperson. The company has not identified other partners or disclosed how many such collaborations it has. "23andMe's existing collaborations will continue. We will also continue to provide data and analyses to academics and researchers in areas outside of target discovery," the company spokesperson said. "The agreement with GSK is a highly focused approach with a collabora- tor who has the expertise and resources to accelerate drug discovery. We look at this as a way of potentially delivering more person- alized treatments quicker and more cost effectively, which is the ultimate goal." The pharma collabora- tions also enable 23andMe to generate revenue beyond the sales of its marketed tests, the $99 Ancestry Service, and the $199 Health + Ancestry Service designed to offer insights on variants associated with higher risk of develop- ing a disease, carrier status, traits, wellness, and ancestry. Both are based on saliva samples customers submit for lab analysis via the company's collection kits. The collaborations do not signal a shift of business strat- egy, said 23andMe, which stands to gain up to $60 million from Genentech alone, Forbes reported in 2015. Privately held 23andMe does not disclose revenues, but has raised $491 million since it was established in 2006. That includes $250 million in financing raised last year. 'Appropriate Concerns' Wojcicki's announcement of the GSK collaboration on 23andMe's blog sparked requests from six people to opt out of having their data shared. "Customers can choose to opt-in or opt-out at any time," the company stated. Greely said the data sharing raises ethical concerns. "Reasonable people can differ on how important they are," Greely said. "There are certainly appropriate concerns about privacy—not only what the company can do with your data, and what they might learn about you from your data, but the possibility of leaks, of hacks, and particularly of re-identification." "If privacy really concerns you, either you shouldn't sign up with consumer genomics companies at all, or you should only sign up in a context where they allow you to opt out of your data being shared," Greely added. Yet along with the risks, he added, come the altruistic benefits of helping advance research, and develop life-sav- ing treatments. For biopharmas, that process increasingly relies on genomics. GSK says more than 60% of the targets elected for its new drug discovery programs over the past year were supported by human genetic evidence. GSK has stepped up genomics-based research collabo- rations in recent years. In addition to partnering with aca- demic researchers, GSK has also pursued larger initiatives. In March 2017, GSK joined Regeneron's Genetics Center, a subsidiary of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, in investing an undisclosed amount toward sequencing the first 50,000 exomes from the UK Biobank, an initiative that has been completed. And in December, GSK took another partnership tack, contributing £40 million (about $52 million) to launch a new genomic research partnership with the U.K. govern- ment and other public and private partners. A month later, Regeneron formed a $50 million consortium with five other biopharmas to speed up by three years exome sequencing of all 500,000 people within the UK Biobank. GSK has said its contribution would support its partner- ship's sequencing of all 500,000 exomes in the UK Biobank— "With over 80% of customers consenting to participate in research, it's really clear that a lot of our customers want to play an active role in discovering and developing treatments and cures for diseases." —Anne Wojcicki, CEO and co-founder, 23andMe Anne Wojcicki, CEO and co-founder, 23andMe (continued on next page) Kimberly White / Stringer / Getty Images

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