Roche, 23andMe partner to find new therapeutic targets for Parkinson's disease

Roche's Genentech unit entered into a collaboration with 23andMe to use whole genome sequencing data to identify new therapeutic targets for treating Parkinson's disease, 23andMe announced Tuesday. Under the agreed terms, 23andMe will provide genome sequencing and data from its Parkinson's disease community for about 3000 people, while Genentech will be responsible for identifying potential treatments based on the supplied information.

According to sources familiar with the agreement, Roche will pay 23andMe an upfront payment of $10 million with the latter also eligible to receive for up to $50 million in milestone payments. 23andMe said that at the end of the multi-year collaboration, the company will have an option to conduct additional research on the data and make the information available to other Parkinson's disease researchers. However, the company cautioned that de-identified individual data will only be shared from patients who provide permission to do so.

Alex Schuth, who heads technology innovation and diagnostics business development at Genentech, stated that the 12 000 patients recruited by 23andMe and the physical data on those patients are attractive. "That is something unparalleled," commented Schuth, adding "obviously the goal for us for this collaboration is target discovery to find new medicines for patients in a disease-modifying sort of way."

Commenting on the collaboration, 23andMe president Andy Page remarked "23andMe's research platform is unlike any other for fuelling genomic discoveries that have the potential to help treat and solve disease," further nothing that "this collaboration is truly emblematic of both companies' broader vision of improving the human condition through genetic research."

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