23andMe Is Building a Clinical Trial Recruitment Business

Genetic testing kit company 23andMe announced that it will partner with startup TrialSpark to help match interested customers with nearby clinical trial sites based on their DNA, diseases, and demographics.

For months, 23andMe has been recruiting its customers for interventional and observational studies in Alzheimer disease, Parkinson’s disease, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, eczema, and liver disease. TrialSpark, which positions itself as an alternative to contract research organizations, charges its sponsors to expand the geographical reach of their clinical trials, providing tech infrastructure and support staff to community physicians to allow them to open study sites.

With this partnership, TrialSpark’s technology will enable patients to participate in clinical trials by visiting a local doctor’s office rather than traveling to the study site, providing more participation opportunities for patients who live far outside of urban hubs. To launch their collaboration, the two companies are requesting proposals from clinical researchers interested in recruiting from 23andMe’s customer base.

In 2018, 23andMe announced another partnership with GlaxoSmithKline to develop new medications, in which the company helped recruit patients with Parkinson’s disease and the LRRK2 gene variant for observational research.

Source: STAT, September 26, 2019.