23andMe, a consumer genetics company, has licensed its first drug compound to Almirall, a global pharmaceutical company.

The compound is a bispecific monoclonal antibody designed to block all 3 members of the IL-36 cytokine subfamily. Dysregulation of IL-36 signaling has been associated with many inflammatory diseases including psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, acute kidney injury, pulmonary fibrosis and arthritis.

According to 23andMe, over 10 million of their kits have been sold, with 80% of consumers  consenting to their results being used for research purposes. Established in 2015, the Therapeutics group at 23andMe identifies novel targets using this database of genotypic information, generates compounds based on these targets, and performs preclinical research to support future clinical development. 

23andMe’s Vice President of Business, Emily Drabant Conley, told Bloomberg, “This is a seminal moment for 23andMe. We’ve now gone from database to discovery to developing a drug.”

Through this partnership, Almirall will take the bispecific monoclonal antibody to the next levels of clinical development. “As a leader in medical dermatology, we felt Almirall was the best company to take this program forward and ultimately develop an effective therapy for patients,” said Kenneth Hillan, MB, ChB, Head of Therapeutics at 23andMe. 

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In addition to Almirall, 23andMe also has a deal with GlaxoSmithKline, allowing the pharmaceutical company to access the genetic database and collaborate on drug development. 

The terms of service on the 23andMe website state that by providing any sample, “you acquire no rights in any research or commercial products that may be developed by 23andMe or its collaborating partners. You specifically understand that you will not receive compensation for any research or commercial products that include or result from your Genetic Information or Self-Reported Information.”

For more information visit 23andMe.com.