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Partnered Up

Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline has invested $300 million in the direct-to-consumer genetic testing company 23andMe, as GenomeWeb has reported.

The two companies have also entered into a four-year drug discovery collaboration deal to which they will initially contribute funds equally, it adds. Under this deal, CNBC says GSK will become 23andMe's exclusive collaborator for drug target discovery and the two plan to comb through 23andMe's database to select drug targets with a better chance of working.

"Partnering with 23andMe… will help to shift our research and development organization to be 'driven by genetics,'" GSK CSO Hal Barron says in a statement, according to GenomeWeb.

CNBC notes that this isn't the first time that a drug company has turned to genetics to enhance its drug discovery process: Amgen bought Decode Genetics in 2012 and Regeneron has partnered with Geisinger Health and the UK Biobank. But, it says, that 23andMe differs from those partners.

"A consumer ancestry database has never been used for this purpose," adds the Financial Times. "For $300m, it will need to produce results, however."