DNA testing giant 23andMe secures $250m funding round

12 Sep 2017430 Views

Anne Wojcicki, co-founder and CEO of 23andMe. Image: Laura Morton/Fortune Live Media/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Two years after it was finally given FDA approval, 23andMe has announced it has secured $250m in funding.

In its 11 years, genetic testing company 23andMe has experienced some major ups and downs, though the latest news from the company suggests it is on a major high, after securing $250m in funding.

According to TechCrunch, 23andMe – founded by Linda Avey, Paul Cusenza and Anne Wojcicki – confirmed the amount, with Sequoia Capital leading the massive investment, bringing the company’s valuation to just under $2bn.

Some other investors confirmed with this round are newcomers, including Euclidean Capital, Altimeter Capital and the Wallenberg Foundation.

23andMe said that the funding will be used to “accelerate customer growth, continue funding its expanding therapeutics group and invest in its crowdsourced genetic research platform”.

CEO Wojcicki said: “We have only begun to scratch the surface in direct-to-consumer genetics. We will continue to blaze the trail for our customers and lead the industry we’ve built.”

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It is a remarkable turnaround for a company that was facing the possibility of being banned from selling its genetic testing kits to people in its native US as it did not have the approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at the time.

However, in 2015, the FDA gave the go-ahead for 23andMe to sell its kit, which has since caught the eye of a number of investors.

While home-testing kits have been its key product, the company has also diversified into research areas, as seen when it received $60m in 2015 to sequence genomes for Parkinson’s disease.

It does this by encouraging its customers to allow their genomic data to be used in these various studies.

Anne Wojcicki, co-founder and CEO of 23andMe. Image: Laura Morton/Fortune Live Media/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Colm Gorey is a senior journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

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