23andMe and mondoBIOTECH Partner to Advance Research of Rare Diseases
January 28, 2009
Following this year’s landmark FDA clearance for genetic health reports, company will use funds to fuel customer growth and further invest in its research platform
DAVOS, Switzerland – January 28, 2009 – 23andMe, Inc., an industry leader in personal genetics, and mondoBIOTECH AG, a Swiss research company dedicated to the development of treatments for rare diseases, today announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that they are collaborating to advance research of rare diseases. The announcement marks the return of the companies to the World Economic Forum, where they both were recognized as Technology Pioneers in 2008. 23andMe and mondoBIOTECH will work together to facilitate research of the genetic bases of rare and potentially fatal diseases, such as Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, Sarcoidosis, and Pulmonary Fibrosis, the genetics of which are poorly understood. mondoBIOTECH will identify individuals suffering from certain rare diseases and sponsor their enrollment in the 23andMe Personal Genome Service™. Researchers then will be able to study the genetic information collected, along with any phenotypic information provided, in clinical trials, to understand potential causes of these diseases. 23andMe will coordinate genome-wide association studies for mondoBIOTECH affiliates using its research infrastructure and bioinformatics expertise. The Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN) DNA Analysis technology used by 23andMe is the world’s leading technology for genome-wide association studies and has the unique capability to include custom markers. This feature enabled 23andMe to select SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms), or variants that provide coverage of genes associated with drug response, information that is proving to be critical for the development of personalized medicine. In addition to having over half a million markers available for disease research, these “pharmacogenetic” indicators included in the 23andMe dataset could provide invaluable information for identifying treatment protocols. “We are eager to take an active role in advancing research of rare genetic disorders,” said Linda Avey, co-founder of 23andMe. “By partnering with our colleagues at mondoBIOTECH, a company acutely focused in this area, we’ll be able to leverage the genetics and bioinformatics expertise of our science team toward better understanding of these often devastating conditions.” “For years, we have been working on behalf of neglected and underserved disease communities to help improve the lives of people with rare and fatal diseases,” said Fabio Cavalli, Chief Executive Officer of mondoBIOTECH. “When we met the founders of 23andMe last year at Davos and saw what they were doing with genetics, we knew that a collaboration between the two companies could go a long way towards understanding the causes of the diseases we have been researching.”
mondoBIOTECH is the Swiss open source biotech aiming to improve the health of patients affected by rare diseases. mondoBIOTECH currently has a product pipeline of more than 300 peptides as treatment options for more than 600 rare diseases. The company licenses out their products to companies, foundations and private persons who are interested in improving the status of affected patients. The company has obtained 6 Orphan Medical Product Designations in Europe and in the US and licensed 7 products to BiogenIdec (NASDAQ: BIIB), InterMune (ITMN), United Therapeutics/LungRx (UTHR). mondoBIOTECH was selected Technology Pioneer 2008 by the World Economic Forum. For more details, please visit www.mondobiotech.com.
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23andMe, Inc., headquartered in Sunnyvale, CA, is a leading consumer genetics and research company. Founded in 2006, the company’s mission is to help people access, understand, and benefit from the human genome. 23andMe has pioneered direct access to genetic information as the only company with multiple FDA clearances for genetic health reports. The company has created the world’s largest crowdsourced platform for genetic research, with 80% of its customers electing to participate. The 23andMe research platform has generated more than 180 publications on the genetic underpinnings of a wide range of diseases. The platform also powers the 23andMe Therapeutics group, currently pursuing drug discovery programs rooted in human genetics across a spectrum of disease areas, including oncology, respiratory, and cardiovascular diseases, in addition to other therapeutic areas. More information is available at www.23andMe.com.