Fidelity Invests Into 23andMe.com

23andMe Inc., a Silicon Valley genetic-testing-company has managed to raise US$ 115 million in the form of venture capital finance as it gets ready to launch a new product for its clients and also enlarge its drug-discovery portfolio.

23andMe test kit

The genetic-testing company officially announced that the huge amount of funds was obtained from Fidelity Management & -Research Company. The rest of the funding was contributed by New Enterprise Associates & Google Ventures {previous investors} as well as new investors like WuXi Healthcare Ventures & Casdin Capital. The financing significantly boosted its asset base. According to reliable sources, the company is currently valued at an impressive net worth of US $ 1.1 billion.

Background

23andMe Inc. is a startup company that is popularly known for its US $ 99 DNA test which comprehensively analyzes the genetic information contained in clients’ spit. Its name was derived from the twenty-three pairs of chromosomes found in human cells.

According to Andy Page (the president of 23andMe Inc.), the company specifically preferred that Fidelity Management & -Research Company lead the financing round since there are/ were very few financial institutions that had the core competencies in two main areas; therapeutic and consumer business. WuXi was also brought in to help the genetic-testing-company tap into the lucrative Chinese market.

The CEO also revealed that the funds will be sufficient for a considerable amount of time, and that the company based in Mountain View, California will therefore not float the Initial Public Offering it was planning to tender in the financial year 2016.

Charles Keller, Fidelity Management & -Research Company’s spokesman, did not provide much information concerning the financing deal. He claimed that they have a strict policy that forbids the discussion of specific details about business dealings with their clients with the media or any other third parties. However, he stated that they strictly invest in a few private companies that are in their late development stages if they strongly believe that there is excellent long-term opportunity for its shareholders to gain from the business deal(s) they engage in.

23andMe Inc. is renowned for providing comprehensive reports on the ancestry of clients. However, it has not been including a health analysis on the susceptibility of their clients to genetic conditions because of a stand-off between the company and U.S.A’s Food & Drug Administration concerning whether or not it should have regulatory clearance to charge fees on its clients when conducting the tests. The stand-off started in 2013.

In February 2015, FDA granted 23andMe Inc. authorization to conduct tests for Bloom Syndrome. The regulatory authority also gave the company all the necessary approvals to carry out tests on autosomal –recessive –disorders (genetic conditions that can only be manifested if two abnormal genes {one from each parent} are present). In that regard, 23andMe Inc. has officially declared that it will have a refurbished product related to health analysis before December 2015.

23andMe Inc.’s president has declared that the funds obtained from Fidelity Management & -Research Company’s and other strategic partners will be invested in efforts to accelerate work on its novel product. The funds will also be used in expanding the company’s newly-launched drug discovery portfolio which was established in March 2015 under the stewardship of Richard Scheller (former Genentech veteran).

Additionally, the company based in Mountain View, California is setting up a state-of-the art research laboratory where therapeutic tests will be conducted. It’s also building a sequencing lab which will be used for testing consumer products and also for carrying out research.

According to Patrick Chung, the genetic-testing company is just about to fulfill two of its greatest ambitions; changing the way in which medical research is conducted and bringing the power of –genomics closer to its clients. Mr. Chung is a board member of 23andMe Inc. and also one of the people who established Xfund, a prominent venture capital firm in Menlo Park, CA.

Competition

23andMe Inc. faces stiff competition from other dealers of consumer –genetic testing kits. One of its competitors is Ancestry.com LLC, a company that sells DNA kits that are used for testing ancestry information.

According to reliable sources, the latter is in the advanced stages of developing a comprehensive health-focused testing-kit. It’s also partnering with manufactures of traditional drugs to provide data on the genetic code of clients in order to discover how certain diseases develop. Ancestry.com is also working closely with Calico, a bio-technology company established by Google Inc.

23andMe Inc. also faces stiff competition from Color- Genomics –genetic –testing kits for ovarian and breast cancer mutations. The kits have significantly increased in a market that was previously dominated by 23andMe Inc.

However, the company is not worried about the increased competition from its peers because of various reasons. It has a huge database of information on the genetic composition of its clients, has been in existence for several years, has built a strong base that consists of loyal clientele and has also obtained sufficient funds which will be invested in efforts to accelerate work on its novel product. The funds will also be used in expanding the company’s newly-launched drug discovery arm.

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