23andMe therapeutics group to better understand common and rare diseases

A new therapeutics group aims to use human genetic data as the starting point for identifying new therapies for both common and rare diseases.

Personal genetics company 23andMe (Mountain View, CA) has created a new therapeutics group that aims to use human genetic data as the starting point for identifying new therapies for both common and rare diseases. The group, in connection with the company's research platform, will lead to better understanding the biological mechanisms of disease and accelerating the discovery of novel treatments through human genetics.

Related: 23andMe direct-to-consumer genetic test receives FDA clearance

Leading the new group will be Richard Scheller, Ph.D., whom the company appointed as its chief science officer and head of therapeutics. Scheller retired in December 2014 from a distinguished 14-year career as an executive at Genentech, where he was the executive VP of research and early development. There, he led the company's research strategy, drug discovery, business development, and early drug development activities (through proof of concept in the clinic) around oncology, immunology, neuroscience, and infectious disease.

When Scheller assumes his post at 23andMe in April 2015, he will help build a dedicated research and development team.

Update: In April 2015, the company also appointed Robert Gentleman, Ph.D., as its VP of computational biology, a role in which Gentleman will focus on the exploration of how the human genetic and trait data in the company's database can be used to identify new therapies for disease. He will collaborate with Scheller and others to help the newly formed therapeutics group utilize data analytics and theoretical models to identify trends and ultimately advance the drug research and discovery process.

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