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GlaxoSmithKline invests $300M in genetics research

By Ed Adamczyk
GlaxoSmithKline invests $300M in genetics research
GlaxoSmithKline will partner with California-based genetics research firm 23andMe to discover medicines using human genetics as a guide, the companies said Wednesday. File Photo by gopixa/Shutterstock/UPI

July 25 (UPI) -- British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmith Kline announced Wednesday a $300 million investment and partnership with California-based genetics company 23andMe.

The companies said the collaboration will last four years and seek to discover medicines using human genetics as a guide.

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23andMe is a privately held, direct-to-consumer genetic testing company that provide health and ancestry data to customers who send in DNA sample. Eighty percent of its five million customers have consented to participating in research.

The company began drug development in 2015, but GSK will use 23andMe's genetics database to improve selection of drug targets, create medicines more likely to work and accelerate identification and recruitment of patients for clinical trials.

The union of a pharma giant like GSK and a mass-market genetic testing company is unusual. In 2012, GSK competitor Amgen acquired Iceland's deCODE Genetics, and Regeneron partnered with Geisinger Health and the UK Biobank. While those genetics companies rely on comprehensive databanks, 23andMe offers surveys of its customers.

The joint statement emphasized "stringent security protections" at both GSK and 23andMe.

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