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23andMe takes at-home genetic testing mainstream and public with $3.5b SPACINTL

23andMe takes at-home genetic testing mainstream and public with $3.5b SPAC

Science nerds, pay attention. Last week, genetics testing company 23andMe announced it will be going public with the help of Richard Branson’s special purpose acquisition company VG Acquisition. The deal values the company at $3.5b.

23andMe was founded in 2006 and sells at-home genetic testing kits. They’re not trying to give people the tools to create their own Frankenstein; rather, they aim to help people identify potential health issues they may be predisposed to.

After regulatory issues forced it to be pulled from the market, in its earlier days, 23andMe pivoted to ancestry testing. The company has since re-launched healthcare tests with approval from the Food and Drug Administration.

However, 23andMe wants to use its vast genetic data for more than just individuals’ healthcare purposes; the company has ambitions of entering the pharma industry by creating drug therapies. Last year, 23andMe licensed a drug developed in-house and currently has over 30 therapeutic programs in progress.  

why it matters
Both 23andMe and Richard Branson are excited about the future of genetic testing and gene-based therapies. According to Branson, "there’s no better way to invest your money than in healthcare...and the returns can be exceptional." If Richard Branson thinks it's a good investment, it might be worth taking a look at!