23andMe as founded in 2006 by Anne Wojcicki, Linda Avey, Paul Cusenza in 2006. 23andMe provides health and ancestry information based on analysis of a customer’s DNA obtained using a saliva collection kit. Reports are accessed in an online account. Genetic information is kept in separate databases from personally identifiable information to protect user identity.
In 2013 the FDA ordered the company to stop providing information about their customers’ health risks. The FDA later decided to allow 23andMe to tell customers their risks for developing ten medical conditions including Parkinson’s disease, late-onset Alzheimer’s disease and Bloom syndrome.
Each customer can opt in or out for letting 23andMe use their genetic information for research. In 2017 the data from its 2 million customers was considered the largest collection of gene-linked data. 23andMe has its own drug development team lead by Richard Scheller, previously of Genentech who became Chief Science Officer and Head of Therapeutics in 2015. Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) partnered with 23andME in 2018.
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