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23andMe Gets $50M Payment as GSK Extends Companies' Drug Discovery Alliance

NEW YORK — 23andMe said on Tuesday that it will receive a $50 million payment from GlaxoSmithKline after the British pharmaceutical giant opted to extend their drug target-discovery collaboration for an additional year.

In 2018, the companies partnered to use 23andMe's extensive genotype-phenotype database and base of customers willing to donate personal data to identify targets for personalized therapeutics. As part of the initial deal, GSK made a $300 million equity investment in 23andMe.

23andMe said that GSK has exercised an option to extend the alliance until July 2023, triggering the $50 million payment. 23andMe also said it has elected to take a royalty option in a Phase I immuno-oncology antibody program targeting CD96 that stems from the partnership. GSK is fully responsible for the drug's development in later-stage clinical trials and will handle all development costs going forward, 23andMe said.

"In less than four years, under this collaboration, we have identified over 40 therapeutic programs and have advanced an immuno-oncology antibody targeting CD96 into clinical development," Kenneth Hillan, head of therapeutics at 23andMe, said in a statement. "GSK's decision to extend the exclusive target discovery period of our collaboration for an additional year demonstrates the enthusiasm for our collaboration and the value our database provides for identifying targets and advancing new medicines based on human genetics."

Following the announcement that GSK is extending its partnership with 23andMe by another year, 23andMe held an R&D day on Monday, during which it detailed its discovery and development efforts for the CD96-targeting antibody and a CD200R1-targeting drug it is developing on its own. The company also noted that its drug trials will incorporate exploratory biomarker research, including research into polygenic risk scores, to identify best responders (see Precision Oncology News for more detailed coverage). 

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