Google invests in DNA-screening start-up aimed at boosting disease prevention

| April 21, 2008

BusinessWeek (4/18, Backman) reported that after investing "in a genetic screening company, 23andMe," Google is now "also putting money into a second Silicon Valley DNA-screening startup, Navigenics." The company "aims to boost disease prevention by providing customers reports on their DNA that they can share with their doctors," and "[m]uch in the way it invested in 23andMe, Google wants to plant an early stake in a potentially large new market around genetic data." Notably, "[i]f genetic screening proves popular, the nascent technology also stands to benefit Affymetrix, which not only invested in Navigenics but also makes the GeneChip system used…to analyze customers’ DNA." Speaking before a group hosted by Navigenics "about the product’s potential," former Vice-President Al Gore, said, "On all these new genetic breakthroughs there is always some resistance culturally." But "then when there’s an evaluation of the inherent value, if the ethics are right, if the surrounding culture is right, then it just breaks through. I think this company has it right," he added.

Category: Genetics

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