Genetic Testing Kit Company 23andMe Moving Into Clinical Trial Recruitment

The consumer genetic testing kit company 23andMe announced that it will partner with tech startup TrialSpark to help match interested customers with nearby clinical trial sites based on their germline DNA, patient-reported diseases, and demographics.

According to a report in STAT, 23andMe has been recruiting its customers for interventional and observational studies in Alzheimer disease, Parkinsons disease, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, eczema, and liver disease for months.

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 intends to enable 23andMe customers to participate in clinical trials by visiting a local doctor’s office rather than traveling to a distant study site. The companies hope that this will provide 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.

This new partnership is the latest in 23andMe’s efforts to expand its business. In 2018, the company announced a collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline to develop new medications by helping to recruit patients with Parkinson’s disease whose genetic testing kits revealed the LRRK2 gene variant.

Source: STAT, September 26, 2019.