23andMe, the leading personal genetics company today announced an agreement with Pfizer Inc. in which the companies will aim to enroll 10,000 people with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in a research initiative designed to explore the genetic factors associated with the onset, progression, severity and response to treatments for IBD.
Approximately 1.4 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from IBD, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While IBD is known to be more common in developed countries, the exact cause of this chronic illness is still unknown and there is no cure.
The collaboration represents an innovative effort for both companies designed to explore the underlying genetics of IBD and it is hoped that the effort will ultimately lead to potential new or improved treatments for IBD.
"We are excited to team up with Pfizer to take an innovative, consumer-centered approach to try to understand the fundamentals of inflammatory bowel disease and the variability of treatment response," said 23andMe CEO and Co-Founder Anne Wojcicki.
"Pfizer is committed to bringing forward new treatments for patients suffering with IBD," said Jose Carlos Gutierrez-Ramos, Senior Vice President, Biotherapeutics Research and Development, Pfizer. "By enhancing our understanding of the underlying biology of the disease, we hope to better support our clinical research activities and development programs."
All study participants will receive 23andMe's Personal Genome Service® at no cost, including their ancestry analysis and uninterpreted raw genetic data. 23andMe will recruit individuals who are not current 23andMe customers and have also been diagnosed with Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis by a qualified physician. Study participants will need to consent to provide a DNA sample (saliva), answer online surveys, and agree to share their data with researchers. The study is currently open to U.S. residents only.