23andMe adds $9M to Series C round

Faith Merino · January 7, 2011 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/15ac

MPM Capital joins Johnson & Johnson in 23andMe's $31M Series C round

Personal genomics company 23andMe announced Friday morning that it has added another $9 million to its Series C round, bringing the total fundraising round to $31 million.  MPM Capital is the latest investor to participate in the round, joining Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation as new investors.  Additionally, MPM Capital Managing Director Ashley Ledbetter Dombkowski, PhD will be joining 23andMe’s board of directors.

For those who haven’t heard of 23andMe, the company was founded in 2006 with the goal of indexing genes and making the human genome “searchable,” which makes sense considering 23andMe co-founder Anne Wojcicki is married to Google co-founder Sergey Brin. 

The process is beautifully simple.  You simply go on the website, order a kit, provide a saliva sample, and receive a full report on your genetic history, including your predisposition for certain diseases, which medications you will have a negative reaction to, your ancestry and lineage, and your carrier status for certain diseases. 

The company is also bringing a revolutionary social element to genetic research by giving customers the option to participate in genetic research simply by contributing data from their own reports.  The company’s research arm, called 23andWe, is making it possible for genetic research to go beyond the lab to include data on anyone who chooses to participate.  For example, if you have a relative who has Parkinson’s Disease and you would like to do your part to advance Parkinson’s research, you can join a research community for the disease on 23andWe and participate in studies and take surveys on your own genetic history.  Other research communities include preeclampsia in pregnancy and sarcoma.

Dr. Dombkowski of MPM Capital thinks it’s cool, too. "By combining state-of-the-art genotyping technology with sophisticated information technology tools, 23andMe is helping to usher in the age of personalized medicine in a way that can truly empower individuals while in parallel fueling ground breaking research," Dombkowski said in a prepared statement.  "It's quite extraordinary how much capacity this platform has to power innovative breakthroughs in partnership with clinicians, researchers and patients. As a scientist, investor and individual, I am delighted to be working with the 23andMe team."

Dombkowski brings 15 years of experience in managing investments in the biotech, medical device and pharmaceutical industries.  She was also recently named one of the Most Influential Women of 2010 by the San Jose/Silicon Valley Business Journal.

23andMe previously raised $22 million from Johnson & Johnson back in November.  The company’s other investors include New Enterprise Associates, Google Ventures, and Roche Venture Fund.

The kit is currently available for $199, a significant drop from its earlier $499 price-tag—and before that it cost $1,000.  Throughout December, the company dropped the price down to a mere $99.

The 23andMe genetic testing kit was all I wanted for Christmas and no one got it for me.  I need to find out if I carry the Ginger gene.  Hopefully the kit can test for that.

Image source: 23andMe.com

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23andMe is a web-based service that helps you read and understand your DNA. After providing a saliva sample using an at-home kit, you can use our interactive tools to shed new light on your distant ancestors, your close family and most of all, yourself.