You entered into an exclusive partnership with GlaxoSmithKline for five years from 2018 to 2023. How successful was it?

It was very productive. Fifty drug targets turned out to be far more than we expected. They extended it again for another year, a sixth year, although it is now non-exclusive. We now have the ability to mine datasets for ourselves as well as partner with other groups. Both the 23andMe and GSK team realized that there was so much out there, no single group could possibly do everything. It’s a real resource that we can apply to many different organizations for their own drug discovery.

Are there specific disease areas that you are really interested in?

We have limited our discovery efforts to the immunology of inflammation, and specifically to asthma. We’re also focusing on our immuno-oncology programs, but that’s more than that. [drug] towards development.

Speaking of which, you have a drug in Phase 2 trials, an antibody for solid tumor cancer, and you just announced that you’re starting a Phase 1 trial for another drug, called a natural killer. Called a cell activator, also for cancer. Did you identify these drugs based on your genetic data?

We did. It’s really exciting to see genetic data being turned into a hypothesis that goes into a drug and actually seeing the effects on patients.

Do you think most 23andMe users are aware that if they choose to participate in research, they are also choosing to have their data used by potential pharma partners?

This is not individual-level data, unless they have expressly consented to individual-level data. I think most people want to see improvement in their lives. 23andMe can only take it so far. But then we will need to partner with others to really accelerate in different disease areas.

How early in the company’s history did you start thinking about the direction 23andMe might take in drug development?

Drug discovery was always really interesting to me. I just love the place. I think it’s incredibly exciting to be able to understand genetics and then apply it and help understand and clarify biology. The original iteration was about us not doing so much ourselves, but rather partnering it with other pharma companies.

A little more than 20 years after the completion of the Human Genome Project, the integration of genetics and genomics into clinical care has yet to be fully realized. why like this?

The biggest question surrounding genetics is about cost. In the US health care system, because employers are paying for most health care and the average length of time employees are employed is three years, you look like this: Your three-year investment time What is it, and will it pay off? Closed in this time frame? So, I think it’s a lot about, you know, when does preventative care pay off? I think one of the things that’s a bit of a sad reality for people is that what’s best for the entire population isn’t necessarily best for you.