Friday, September 28, 2007

Google Moves on to DNA Search

What's Sergey Brin's New Wife Up To?
Ann Wojcicki Co-founds 23andME
A DNA Analysis Company with funded with lots of Google $

Read the following article and keep in mind a Google Personal Genetic Search Engine. That's what's coming based on everything I've read. Think of all the health and pharma Adwords you could sell on that. And also keep in mind that Google is really far out ahead of the ad curve when it comes to content....more on that later.
Google's Genetic Start-Up
Matthew Herper, 09.12.07, 6:16 PM ET
From Forbes Magazine (Edited for length)

23andMe isn't just any start-up. The company was co-founded by Anne Wojcicki, the new wife of Google billionaire Sergey Brin. Google put $3.6 million into the start-up, and $2.6 million of 23andMe's funding went to pay back a loan from Brin to the new company. That was enough to get the gossips jabbering. Other investors include Genentech (nyse: DNA - news - people ) and tech investor Esther Dyson.

But despite the chatter, there hasn't been a lot of information about what 23andMe is going to do, or how it is going to make money. The name comes from the fact that every person has 23 pairs of chromosomes, tangles of DNA that contain our genes. (We each get one set of 23 from Mom, the other from Dad.)

23andMe's Web site says the company is "developing new ways to help you make sense of your own genetic information." It also promises "broad, secure and private access to trustworthy and accurate individual genetic information."

Customers would give 23andMe a sample (it might be some spit or a Q-tip rubbed on the inside of the cheek). This would be sent to Illumina to be genotyped. Illumina and its main competitor, Affymetrix (nasdaq: AFFX - news - people ), make what are known as DNA chips, devices that can sample the genome in hundreds of places. These chips have been leading to a revolution in genetics, with dozens of DNA variations being potentially linked to diseases so far this year.

Illumina would then be able to tell 23andMe about hundreds of DNA variations, called single nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, that each customer has. 23andME would make that information available through a password-protected Web site. And people would be able to log on and get information about what SNPs (pronounced "snips") they have.

Illumina estimates that in several years the market in consumer genotyping will hit $1.5 billion. It's not clear, but it seems likely 23andMe might use the data it has collected to make new discoveries itself.

23andMe, which has been keeping very quiet about its plans, declined to comment for this story. But it is looking like one of the first companies to start figuring out what an explosion of genetic data will mean for the average consumer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I read there are 3 companies in the space right now,,, and But only Cambridge Genomics is actually receiving cheek swabs and sequencing genomes right now. I don't think they're using SNiP CHIPs, but actually sequencing genomes using shotgun sequencing. New Scientist magazine said they have several sequencing options, one for 30 or 40K and going all the way to a James Watson, Craig Venture quality whole genome sequence for a million dollars...... Pretty amazing stuff. It's going to be interested to watch it play out....