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Direct-to-consumer genetic testing company 23andMe is teaming up with clinical trial firm TrialSpark in an effort to address the issue of low recruitment that hampers many clinical trials, as GenomeWeb reports.

The partners plan to combine 23andMe's research platform and database of customers with TrialSpark's distributed site network and trial services. In particular, they plan to use 23andMe's database of customers who consented to participate in research to identify individuals who match a certain target demographic around whom a trial is being developing, and then use TrialSpark's services to conduct that work.

"23andMe's unique model solves for the biggest challenge in clinical trials — patient recruitment," Emily Drabant Conley, the vice president of business development at 23andMe, says in a statement. "It allows 23andMe to quickly find the right patients with the right conditions for clinical trials. Now with TrialSpark we are taking this one step further by enabling our customers access to clinical trial sites within their community."

According to GenomeWeb, the firms have announced a request for proposals from sponsors, with a particular focus on areas like dermatology, gastroenterology, women's' health, and rare diseases, among others.