23andMe to use customer data to develop its own medicine

Genetics startup 23andMe is going from providing genetic information to consumers and pharmaceutical companies to creating its own medicines.

The company announced this morning that it has hired Richard Scheller, a former Genentech employee, to be its chief scientific officer and head of therapeutics.

23andMe already has a large database for its genetic data to prove fruitful to the pharmaceuticals industry, according to a Forbes article.

It remains to be seen how the healthcare industry will view the move. 23andMe has run into hurdles before, especially from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The agency, in November 2013, ordered the company to stop showing health data based on their genetic tests, saying the results may mislead customers. However, FDA reversed that decision last month, when it authorized a test that can determine whether healthy people have a gene variant that can lead their offspring to inherit Bloom Syndrome, a rare disorder.

The company's competitors, at least, seem to be excited for the switch. "I'm going to have a partner that understands my business," Jose-Carlos Gutierrez-Ramos, a group vice president at Pfizer, told Forbes. "In the past, you could tell that we had different business models. I see it as a win for us." Article