MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.—Personal genetics company 23andMe Inc. is expanding the range of its business deals with the announcement of an agreement with Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, to generate whole-genome sequencing data for approximately 3,000 people in 23andMe's Parkinson’s disease community. The two companies hope to identify new therapeutic targets for treating Parkinson’s disease.
“23andMe helps individuals with debilitating disease participate in research and make advances happen faster,” Anne Wojcicki, 23andMe CEO and co-founder, said in a press release. “I am thrilled about this partnership and believe this can help accelerate meaningful discoveries for Parkinson’s patients.”
“We are incredibly excited to work with Genentech again and for the potential to make true breakthroughs in therapeutic research and treatment for Parkinson’s disease,” added Andy Page, president at 23andMe. “23andMe’s research platform is unlike any other for fueling genomic discoveries that have the potential to help treat and solve disease. This collaboration is truly emblematic of both companies’ broader vision of improving the human condition through genetic research.”
The genetic information 23andMe will provide through this collaboration will enable to Genentech to identify potential therapeutics based on genomic sequencing and survey data from the largest Parkinson’s disease community of its kind. Once the collaboration has concluded, 23andMe will have the opportunity to conduct additional research on the data and to make the data available to Parkinson’s researchers globally. De-identified individual-level data will only be shared from those individuals who give express permission for such.
“Genentech is dedicated to bringing forth treatments for patients with unmet medical needs,” James Sabry, senior vice president and global head of Genentech partnering, commented in a statement. “We are thrilled to be working with 23andMe and its diverse database of genomic data to support our research and development programs.”
Parkinson's disease is a chronic, progressive movement disorder resulting from the malfunction and death of neurons in the brain. The neurons found in the substantia nigra in the brain produce dopamine, which affects movement and coordination; as the disease progresses and more dopamine-producing neurons die, an individual's ability to control their movement normally decreases. Nearly one million people in the United States are living with Parkinson's disease, according to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, with an estimated seven million to 10 million people affected worldwide.