The following press release from 23andMe has the potential to drastically change the economics of the autosomal DNA market. The company is announcing what it says is a permanent price drop of its combined genealogy and health factors test to $99. This is the result of new funding and the launching of an ambitious plan to expand its current database of testers from 150,000 to 1,000,000. At this price many will find the price to be attractive for many family members. Autosomal testing for genealogical purposes is helpful for the last few generations to find close cousins but does not have the power to trace distant paternal and maternal lines that Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA can track.
The health related information can be equally valuable. My wife and I now are patients of the Vanderbilt University Heath Clinics. Vanderbilt is beginning an ambitious plan to match patient records with DNA information that will PREDICT how those patients will react to drug therapy before the drugs are prescribed. Both of us had tested at 23andMe three years ago and were given the same information at that time as Vanderbilt confirmed this past summer.
It remains to be seen how soon 23andMe will be able to reach its ambitious goal of 1,000,000 tested. However, the economics of the marketplace for direct to consumer DNA testing just changed. I hope the major databases will remain economically viable. Need I suggest that you may want to reevaluate what you were planning to give family members for Christmas?
The full text of the press release is below:
23andMe Raises More Than $50 Million in New Financing
Company Sets Growth Goal Of One Million Customers, Reduces Price to $99 from $299
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – December 11, 2012 – 23andMe, Inc., the leading personal genetics company, today announced it has raised more than $50 million in a Series D financing. Participants in the financing include Yuri Milner, a new investor, as well as existing investors Sergey Brin, 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki, New Enterprise Associates, Google Ventures and MPM Capital. This investment will help the company achieve its growth goal of one million customers.
The Power of One Million PeopleExpanding the company’s ability to reach and serve one million individuals supports 23andMe’s goal to revolutionize health and wellness. It also will accelerate 23andMe’s ability to create a powerful platform that enables researchers around the globe to make meaningful discoveries significantly faster than is currently possible. With this expansion, 23andMe, which currently has more than 180,000 customers, will aim to:
- Enable groundbreaking research by creating an exponentially larger collective of actively engaged, genotyped individuals;
- Help accelerate development of new treatments;
- Improve understanding of wellness and disease prevention; and
“A community of one million actively engaged individuals will be transformational for research. A community of this magnitude will improve researchers’ ability to quickly answer questions about genetic function and the role of environmental factors. In addition, it will enable researchers to understand medication efficacy and side effects, in both medications that exist today and medications are that are in development,” Wojcicki added.
- Broaden access for people seeking to manage their health and well-being through direct access and greater understanding of their own genetic data.
Broadening Access: Lowering Price to $99
The Series D investment, combined with rapidly decreasing costs associated with genetic testing technologies, enables 23andMe to reduce the price of its Personal Genome Service to $99, effective immediately. The company will continue to evaluate optimal pricing strategies.
The investment also enables 23andMe to expand the necessary infrastructure to support growth in its research and operational capabilities, including product development, genetic research, software development, recruitment and marketing.
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 company's Personal Genome Service® enables individuals to gain deeper insights into their ancestry and inherited traits. The vision for 23andMe is to personalize healthcare by making and supporting meaningful discoveries through genetic research. 23andMe, Inc., was founded in 2006, and the company is advised by a group of renowned experts in the fields of human genetics, bioinformatics and computer science. More information is available at www.23andme.com.