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23andMe licenses drug it developed to Spanish drugmaker Almirall

The antibody is the first it developed in-house based on customer genetic information.


23andMe has licensed the first drug compound it developed in-house.

Andrew Brookes/Getty Images

Gene-testing company 23andMe has licensed a drug it developed to treat inflammatory diseases to Spanish pharmaceutical company Almirall. The deal, announced Thursday, marks the first time the Silicon Valley startup has licensed a drug compound it developed on its own.

The antibody "is the first we've developed in-house and out-licensed," 23andMe spokesman Andy Kill said.

23andMe's antibody targets a family of proteins associated with several autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, including lupus and Crohn's disease. The deal allows Almirall to develop and commercialize the antibody for worldwide use.

"Working with Almirall, we're pleased to be furthering 23andMe's mission of helping people benefit from genetic insights," Kenneth Hillan, head of Therapeutics at 23andMe, said in a statement. "As a leader in medical dermatology, we felt Almirall was the best company to take this program forward and ultimately develop an effective therapy for patients."

About 80% of 23andMe's 10 million customers have consented to the company's Therapeutics division's use of genetic information being used for drug discovery, the company said. The company said it has the world's largest set of genotypic information paired with billions of phenotypic data points.

This isn't the first time 23andMe has partnered with a drugmaker on pharmaceutical research. In 2018, the company announced that drug giant GlaxoSmithKline would use DNA results from 23andMe customers to research and design new drugs.