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23andMe Gets NHGRI Grant

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Genetic testing firm 23andMe said today it has received a $190,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to validate its platform for pharmacogenomics research.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company received the funding as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 from NIH's National Human Genome Research Institute.

The research arm of 23andMe will use the funding to research genetic factors underlying responses to three drug classes — non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, protein-pump inhibitors used to treat gastroesophogeal reflux disease, and the blood thinner warfarin.

In the first phase of the project, the company will develop and validate web-based surveys assessing drug effectiveness and side effects experienced directly by its customers. In the second phase, 23andMe will assess the usefulness of this approach to determine whether it allows for the replication of previously known associations between responses to the three drug classes and variation between two genes, CYP2C9 and CYP2C19.

The company also will search for new genetic factors associated with response to the three drug classes.

"One of 23andMe's research goals is to identify novel pharmacogenetic associations using web-based phenotyping of efficacy and toxicity," Anne Wojcicki, co-founder and CEO of 23andMe, said in a statement. "If this project is successful in yielding replications, it will set the stage for rapid, well-powered and cost-effective research on many medications."