23andMe raises $79M to spur its drug development business

23andMe

23andMe has raised $79 million, according to a Form D filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company will use the capital to fund its drug development business which will rely on its genomic database. Toward the same goal, they have recently hired Genentech veterans Robert Gentleman and Richard Scheller, who led drug discovery there. Scheller joined 23andMe in March as CSO and head of therapeutics, Gentleman joined in April as vice president of computational biology.

23andMe’s existing investors include Google Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, The Roche Venture Fund and MPM Capital.In a recent interview with BIOIT World, Gentleman identified colon cancer as an interesting area where 23andMe will be putting its resources.

“Look, for example, at colon cancer, there have been a number of GWAS studies that have been done to identify variants associated with whether or not you get colon cancer, but… colon cancer isn’t one disease. Colon cancer is at least three and maybe ten diseases,” he said. “If you can identify those subgroups and… do GWAS on those versus a reasonable control group, you’d find a different set of variants. And that’s true for all diseases.”

23andMe recently began a collaboration with Pfizer for a study on Lupus to better understand the genetics of the condition.

The company’s existing investors include Google Ventures, New Enterprise Associates, The Roche Venture Fund and MPM Capital.

[Via: MedCityNews]