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23andMe, Pfizer Partner on Genetic Research; Target Lupus

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – 23andMe today announced an agreement with Pfizer to provide the drugmaker with access to 23andMe's research platform, and to collaborate on genome-wide association studies, surveys, and clinical trial recruitment.

Under the agreement, Pfizer will have access to 23andMe's genotyped population of more than 800,000 individuals, of which more than 80 percent have consented to participate in research. 23andMe's research portal enables scientists outside of the company to leverage 23andMe's research model while still protecting the privacy and security of its customers.

One project being undertaken by Pfizer and 23andMe will be a longitudinal study to better understand the genetics of lupus. This study will enroll and genotype 5,000 people into a new lupus research community, and will include the integration of medical records and targeted bio-sampling along with genetic information for all participants.

This new effort follows a research collaboration announced by 23andMe and Pfizer in August, under which the companies are to enroll 10,000 people with inflammatory bowel disease to explore genetic factors associated with the onset, progression, severity, and response to treatments for the disease. Nearly 4,000 patients have been enrolled in the community since August, 23andMe said this week.

"The expanding collaboration with 23andMe provides access to a wealth of data," Jose-Carlos Gutierrez-Ramos, group senior vice president and head of biotherapeutics research and development at Pfizer, said in a statement. "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."

Earlier this month, 23andMe and Genentech announced a partnership to sequence the genomes of 3,000 people from 23andMe's Parkinson's disease community in an effort to identify drug targets.