More than 80% of people who use 23andMe’s DNA-mapping services give consent to have their data used for research. But how many of them know that the 23andMe business model depends on selling that data to third-party researchers?
It looks like a great business for 23andMe, Ancestry.com, and others in the genetic-mapping space. The global genetic testing market is forecast to grow from $4.6 billion in 2017 to $5.7 billion in 2022, and 23andMe is the market leader. Reuters estimated 23andme has made $130 million from just the data selling part of its business, thus far. It’s such a gold mine that in July, pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline took a $300 million stake in the company, and announced plans to use its “rich database” of DNA data. Though customer DNA data is anonymized, and the research is aimed at helping the drug company concoct new cures, some people are understandably freaked out.
23andMe inform you about your DNA but, under the guise of market research, is selling it for a profit
EncrypGen, a Delaware-based genetic data marketplace startup, thinks there’s a better way. Cut out the middleman, allow consumers to sell their anonymized DNA direct to researchers, and use the blockchain to ensure that all the data is encrypted and secure.
“We’re going to create a free market with genomic data. It will bring the cost of research down because buyers of data won’t have to go to companies like 23andMe exclusively.”
David Koepsell, EncrypGen’s CEO.
The idea, he explains, is to… (read the full article)
AUTHOR: Tim Copeland
PHOTO CREDIT: Shutterstock