23andMe is bringing its “personal genetics” service to the UK, offering mail-order DNA test kits that provide customers with an overview of their genetic ancestry as well as risk assessments for certain diseases based on genetic data.
The Google-backed company was doing great in North America until FDA forced it to stop offering disease analysis until it received required medical device classification. While the ban is still in place, 23andMe is still offering (with approval) its ancestry-related reports and “uninterpreted raw genetic data” to customers.
For its UK entrance though, 23andMe secured the regulatory approval from the Research Ethics Committee, which oversees medical research involving people in the country.
The 23andMe site will only accept cash from a UK IP address, and won’t ship DNA test kits to a non-UK address.One of the reasons the UK was selected as the next market for expansions is 23andMe’s idea to run alongside Genomics England’s 100,000 Genome project. Said project, backed by the British government, is looking to sequence 100,000 genomes of NHS patients in England by 2018 to help identify, tackle and predict future diseases.
The company doesn’t want any further mess with the FDA and will not take orders from U.S. citizens. While this rule can be circumvented, the site will only accept cash from a UK IP address, and won’t ship DNA test kits to a non-UK address.
Speaking of which, a single Personal Genome Service kit goes for £125 (including delivery) and is shipping as we speak.