In the span of just five days in late November, 23andMe received an order from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to immediately cease marketing its Saliva Collection Kit and Personal Genome Service (PGS), and was also named as a defendant in a class action lawsuit.
A brief history of 23andMe
23andMe is a genetic testing company that was founded in April 2006 by Ann Wojcicki, Paul Cusenza and Linda Avey. Ms. Wojcicki married Sergey Brin, one of the founders of Google, in May 2007, although there are reports the two are now separated.
Google invested $3.9 million in 23andMe around the same time as Mr. Brin and Ms. Wojcicki’s nuptials. What are the odds?
A few months later in November 2007, 23andMe launched its direct-to-consumer-marketed PGS, and a year later, the PGS was named TIME Magazine’s Invention of the Year. At the time, the PGS cost $399.
According to the 23andMe website, all customers need to do is spit into the collection device provided by 23andMe, and for just $99, 23andMe will perform genotype testing and provide an individualized report with respect to 60 different traits and disease risk, carrier status, and response to certain drugs for 200 diseases.