Personal genetics testing company 23andMe announced that a new collaboration with Pfizer will include genetic testing and analysis of 5,000 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus. The longitudinal study will integrate genetic data with medical records and will include targeted bio-sampling.
In addition to analyzing and collecting genetic data, 23andMe has developed a database and research portal to allow scientists outside of the company to have access to identity-restricted genetic data from consenting individuals who previously participated in genetic testing and have provided some of their medical history to the company.
“23andMe’s research portal and custom research tools may benefit Pfizer by helping to understand some potential linkages between genetic traits and disease,” Andy Page, 23andMe president, stated in a press release. “By enabling genetic research on a larger scale, we hope to help our partners to speed the development of potential new therapies.”
According to the release, more than 80% of its 800,000 customers have consented to participate in research, allowing for comparative studies across over 1,000 diseases in “the largest dataset of its kind.”
“The expanding collaboration with 23andMe provides access to a wealth of data,” Jose-Carlos Gutierrez-Ramos, PhD, group senior vice president and head of BioTherapeutics Research & Development at Pfizer, said in the release. “The better we understand the genetic heterogeneity of complex diseases, the faster we may be able to accelerate the pace of development for potential new treatments for the right patient subpopulation.”
In August 2014, 23andme announced a similar collaboration with Pfizer with the aim to enroll 10,000 inflammatory bowel disease patients and study the genetic factors that may be associated with the onset, progression, severity of the disease along with the response to treatment. Almost 4,000 patients have since enrolled in the study.