Google invests in genetics firm

23 May 2007

Google has invested US$3.9m in 23andMe, an emerging biotechnology firm started by Anne Wojcicki, wife of Google co-founder Sergy Brin.

23andMe yesterday announced investments from other firms – Genentech Inc, MDV-Mohr Davidow Ventures and New Enterprise Associates – but did not release a breakdown of individual investment.

“Achieving this significant funding milestone enables us to move forward with our core mission of connecting people with their genetic information,” said Linda Avey, co-founder of 23andMe.

“We are thrilled and honored to have attracted the backing of such a diverse, proven and innovative group of investors.”

The newly formed biotech company uses advanced DNA technology to analyse individuals’ genetic information in order to gain a better understanding of their ancestry and inherited traits.

Wojcicki, who married the Google co-founder early this month, already had a background in healthcare investment, specifically with biotech companies.

Since 2005 Google has been working with prominent biotechnologist Craig Venter on genetic and biological research. Google’s powerful search capabilities combined with the vast amount of genetic data involved in mapping the human genome would possibly mean a searchable genetic database.

By Marie Boran