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23andMe receives NIH funding to evaluate web-based research on the genetics of drug response
Date:12/16/2010

Mountain View, Calif. -- 23andMe has launched a project funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) which is aimed at validating 23andMe's highly-scalable platform for pharmacogenomics research. The company received $190,000 in stimulus funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for "Web-based Phenotyping for Genome-Wide Association Studies of Drug Response" from NIH's National Human Genome Research Institute.

"One of 23andMe's research goals is to identify novel pharmacogenetic associations using web-based phenotyping of efficacy and toxicity," said Anne Wojcicki. co-founder and CEO of 23andMe. "If this project is successful in yielding replications, it will set the stage for rapid, well-powered and cost-effective research on many mediations. In particular, it will facilitate research on new medications as they hit the market, serving to significantly advance personalized medicine."

Building on 23andMe's initial success in discovering novel genetic associations related to hair curl, asparagus anosmia (the inability to detect the scent of certain asparagus metabolites in urine), the photic sneeze reflex (the tendency to sneeze when entering bright light), and freckling, as published in PLoS Genetics this year, the research arm of 23andMe is now investigating genetic factors underlying responses to three classes of drugs: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs); protein-pump inhibitors (PPIs), used to treat gastroesophogeal reflux disease (GERD); and the blood thinner, Warfarin.

This project leverages 23andMe's customized genotyping chip, which includes thousands of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) not included on standard chips. In particular, this chip tests numerous SNPs within genes known to be associated with drug metabolism, efficacy, toxicity, or other side effects.

The first phase of the study includes development and validation of web-based surveys to assess the drug side
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Contact: Jane E. Rubinstein
jrubinstein@rubenstein.com
212-843-8287
23andMe Inc.
Source:Eurekalert  

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