23andMe and mondoBIOTECH announced at Davos (the World Economic Forum in Switzerland) today that they will work together to further the study of rare diseases.Â According to the press release (below), mondoBIOTECH will identify individuals suffering from certain rare diseases and sponsor their enrollment in the 23andMe Personal Genome Serviceâ„¢.Â Researchers will use the information collected to learn more about the potential causes of these rare diseases.
Linda Avey appeared on CNBC this morning to discuss the company and the partnership â€“ see â€œIt’s All in the Genes.â€
The Press Release:
Davos, Switzerland â€“ January 28th 2009 â€“ 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 Serviceâ„¢. 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 worldâ€™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 â€œpharmacogeneticâ€ indicators included in the 23andMe dataset could provide invaluable information for identifying treatment protocols.
â€œWe are eager to take an active role in advancing research of rare genetic disorders,â€ said Linda Avey, co-founder of 23andMe. â€œBy partnering with our colleagues at Mondobiotech, a company acutely focused in this area, weâ€™ll be able to leverage the genetics and bioinformatics expertise of our science team toward better understanding of these often devastating conditions.â€
â€œFor 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,â€ said Fabio Cavalli, Chief Executive Officer of Mondobiotech. â€œWhen 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.â€
23andMe, Inc. is the leading personal genetics company dedicated to helping individuals understand their own genetic information through DNA analysis technologies and web-based interactive tools. The companyâ€™s Personal Genome Serviceâ„¢ enables individuals to gain deeper insights into their ancestry and inherited traits. 23andMe, Inc., was founded by Linda Avey and Anne Wojcicki in 2006, and the company is advised by a group of renowned experts in the fields of human genetics, bioinformatics and computer science. Its Series A investors include Genentech, Inc., Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) and New Enterprise Associates.
More information is available at www.23andme.com.
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.