Google-backed personalized genomics company 23andMe is expecting approval for its very first patent, inspired by a discovery about Parkinson’s disease that the company’s research staff made in October last year. They identified a genetic variant that could protect people with a certain kind of mutation that put them at risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Identifying the variant is a first step to developing a treatment for the disease. 23andMe is continuing work on the variant in collaboration with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, co-founder Anne Wojcicki wrote in a blog post–work that could one day find use in drugs developed by biotech companies and pharmaceuticals. 23andMe has been cultivating a patient community and database of information about Parkinson’s among its members for about a year now. Parkinson’s is of particular interest to Wojcicki’s husband and 23andMe backer Sergey Brin, who has been a strong supporter of Parkinson’s research since 2005 and also carries a gene for the condition.
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