23andMe is joining forces with Almirall, S.A., a Spanish dermatology-centered pharmaceutical company, to produce a commercial antibody that will fight off a variety of inflammatory diseases including some skin conditions.
Through collecting data from around 8 million 23andMe customers, the genomics company has identified three members of the IL-36 cytokine subfamily which are connected to a range of inflammatory diseases including psoriasis, herpes infections, and dermatitis. Almirall has secured the rights to develop the antibody for international treatments for these conditions.
23andMe claims to have “the world’s largest set of genotypic information paired with billions of phenotypic data points contributed by engaged customers.” Around 80 percent of 23andMe’s 10 million users have agreed to have their genetic data used for drug discovery. According to a press release, the company’s therapeutics team uses their vast collection of customer data to identify novel targets for pre-clinical research and development purposes. They have a number of research programs in many disease areas.
This is the first licensing agreement between 23andMe and a drug manufacturer, and is seen as a monumental move for the Bay Area company. “Working with Almirall, we’re pleased to be furthering 23andMe’s mission of helping people benefit from genetic insights. As a leader in medical dermatology, we felt Almirall was the best company to take this program forward and ultimately develop an effective therapy for patients,” said Kenneth Hillian, MD, ChB, Head of Therapeutics at 23andMe.