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Google invests in 'personal genomics' firm

30 May 2007
Appeared in BioNews 409

Anne Wojcicki, the wife of Google co-founder Sergi Brin, has set up a web-based biotech company to allow users to divulge their genetic information into a communal pool, in an effort to enable individuals to greater understand their genetic makeup whilst also permitting pharmaceutical companies to use the information to better understand and develop specifically targeted drugs.

Ms Wojcicki, a Stanford biology graduate and previous biotech investor, teamed up with Linda Avey, a prominent personality in the biotechnology industry, to create '23andMe' last year. The name refers to the number of pairs of human chromosomes, and the company aims to 'empower individuals to better understand their genetic information, making use of recent advances in DNA) analysis technologies and proprietary web-based software tools'. According to its website, '23andMe will create a common, standardised resource that has the potential to bring personalised medicine to the public'.

Google has invested $3.9 million in 23andMe as part of 'developing new ways to help people make sense of their genetic information'. The investment transpired after Google's audit committee recommended it be filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, after having given the investment the all-clear, to ensure transparency and confidence in the company. Other initial investors include biotech giant, Genentech, whose chief executive, Arthur Levinson, also sits on the board of directors at Google.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Google takes stake in genomics info startup
Reuters |  22 May 2007
Search engine aims to Google your genes
The Times |  24 May 2007
Sergey Brin's wife taps Google for start-up funding
The Times |  23 May 2007
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