GlaxoSmithKline, 23andMe team up on genetics-driven drug research
GSK and 23andMe unveiled an exclusive four-year collaboration that will focus on research and development of innovative new medicines and potential cures, using human genetics as the basis for discovery. The collaboration will combine 23andMe's large-scale genetic resources and advanced data science skills, with the scientific and medical knowledge and commercialization expertise of GSK. The goal of the collaboration is to gather insights and discover novel drug targets driving disease progression and develop therapies for serious unmet medical needs based on those discoveries. With over 5 million customers, 23andMe offers those with an interest in genetics the opportunity to learn more about their personal genetic profile. Together, GSK and 23andMe will focus on translating genetic and phenotypic data into R&D activities that will: Improve target selection to allow safer, more effective 'precision' medicines to be discovered; Support identification of patient subgroups that are more likely to respond to targeted treatments; Allow more effective identification and recruitment of patients for clinical studies. Under the terms of the deal, GSK and 23andMe have entered into a four-year collaboration with the option to extend for a fifth year under which GSK will become 23andMe's exclusive collaborator for drug target discovery programs. During this time, the companies will use 23andMe's rich database and proprietary statistical analytics to fuel drug target discovery, with the goal of jointly discovering novel targets that can progress into development. A joint GSK-23andMe drug discovery team will use their combined resources to identify new targets and prioritize based on strength of the biological hypothesis, possibility to find a medicine, and clinical opportunity. To allow work to commence immediately, the deal enables both companies to bring existing early stage programs within the collaboration. 23andMe currently has a portfolio of early stage therapeutic research programs across a wide range of disease indications, which will be assessed for inclusion. GSK will contribute its LRRK2 inhibitor, which is currently in preclinical development as a potential treatment for Parkinson's disease. All activities within the collaboration will initially be co-funded (50%/50%), with either company having certain rights to reduce its funding share for any collaboration program. It is expected that this collaboration will jointly progress a number of targets per year, with either company able to independently progress additional targets identified within the collaboration. GSK will also have the right to work with 23andMe to analyze 23andMe's database for validation of GSK's existing therapeutic portfolio as well as leverage 23andMe's capabilities for clinical trial recruitment. Both GSK and 23andMe will share in the proceeds from new treatments and medicines arising from the collaboration. Additionally, GSK has made a $300M equity investment in 23andMe.