23andMe has announced its first acquisition with the purchase of CureTogether, Inc.
The addition of CureTogether provides technology and talent that will improve 23andMe’s ability to gather data for research while also providing customers with engaging and meaningful interactions in 23andMe’s online community. Specific terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“A driving force for the acquisition is the alignment of core values we share with CureTogether,” 23andMe CEO and Co-Founder Anne Wojcicki.
Wojcicki continued, “It underscores 23andMe’s commitment to helping individuals understand their own genetic information through proven DNA analysis technologies and web-based interactive tools; and generating patient-driven, informed-consent research as well as empowering our customers to use their personal genetic information to find connections and establish communities based on their DNA.”
23andMe’s Personal Genome Service® enables individuals to explore their own DNA and currently provides more than 200 health and traits reports as well as genetic ancestry information.
23andMe’s customer communities currently cover a wide range of topics from Relative Finder matches provided through the company’s ancestry analysis, to disease-specific research communities such as Parkinson's Disease, Sarcoma, Myleoproliferative Neoplasams and the Roots Into The Future research community for African-Americans.
CureTogether brings to 23andMe additional tools and systems for gathering data from health-based communities that are complementary to the existing 23andMe platforms, allowing customers to share quantitative information on more than 500 medical conditions, talk about sensitive symptoms and compare which treatments work best for them as they track their health.
CureTogether’s platform includes more than 4 million phenotypic data points across those different health conditions that could help inform future genetic discoveries.
“There are tremendous opportunities for our members and for future research by integrating the 23andMe and the CureTogether platforms and phenotypic data,” explained CureTogether Co-Founder Daniel Reda, who joins 23andMe as senior product manager.
CureTogether was launched in 2008 initially to help people who live in daily chronic pain. Starting with three conditions, it quickly expanded as people wrote in to request that their conditions be added to their ongoing study.
CureTogether, like 23andMe, is supported by social web-based platforms and is committed to patient-driven research, having partnered with researchers at leading universities and research institutions including Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell University, Drexel University, MIT Media Laboratory and Stanford University.
“We encourage our CureTogether members to join us in the 23andMe community,” added CureTogether Co-Founder Alexandra Carmichael who joins 23andMe as senior product manager, “to help accelerate research discoveries enabled by this unprecedented compilation of community-contributed genetic and phenotypic data.”
An ongoing service, 23andMe’s Personal Genome Service® provides a wealth of information about an individual’s DNA and updates about new research.
Customers can also choose to participate in the company’s unique research programs.
By completing online surveys, customers contribute directly to genetic research that can potentially lead to better understanding of and new treatments for a variety of health conditions.