GlaxoSmithKline is embarking on a four-year collaboration with the genetic-testing firm 23andMe to turbo boost its drug research.
The company’s head of R&D announced this week that the $300 million deal is aimed at helping GSK develop targeted, genetic-based therapies that are safer and more effective.
23andMe’s customers send in saliva to gain insights on their family ancestry. This has helped the company amass a treasure trove of genetic information on about 5 million people — about 80 percent of which have also agreed to participate in research.
23andMe already has its own drug development department and the deal will allow the company to merge those efforts with the R&D team at GSK. According to GSK, their first joint project will involve an experimental medication aimed at a protein that genetic studies have shown could boost the chance of developing Parkinson’s disease.
GSK said that it hopes that focusing on genetics will make the drug development process more cost effective and efficient.
Read the full Fortune report.