biotech solves self-worth

how companies are making money with your genome

Hi, I’m Kedar

The Bio Revolution is where I write about how biotechnology can create a better future.


3min reading time

tl;dr your genome is worth over $300 today, but so much more in the future.


23andMe lied to you

At the least, they withheld information.

I know this first hand.

In 2017, I sat in their headquarters (along with other scientists, engineers, and physicians from the Texas Medical Center) to learn about their strategy and technology.

We asked what they were planning to do with their data, and the employees became suspiciously quiet.

This was less than a year before the $300M deal with GlaxoSmithKline.

It’s not just 23andMe. Every consumer genomics company is going to sell your data.

Consumer genomics was basically just non-dilutive funding.


this is what your genome is worth

Ancestry.com was bought by Blackstone for $4.7B.

They have ~15M genomes in their database.

Richard Branson is taking 23andMe public at a valuation of $4B.1

They have ~12M genomes.

Simple math tells us that:

One genome is worth $322.


just scratching the surface

Valuations north of $4B may seem enormous for companies with declining sales.

However, these are bargain deals.

To date, 23andMe has secured partnerships with GlaxoSmithKline, Almirall, Pfizer, and Genentech.

The company launched its first clinical trial — a cancer therapy — in June 2020.

These co-development contracts are written such that the genomics companies share the upside with their pharmaceutical partners.

Just wait until the first 23andMe drug is approved.

With billions in projected revenue, the company’s valuation will skyrocket.

Then, it will acquire companies like 54gene — which are collecting genomic data from diverse populations — to fortify its data advantage and create more drug targets.

Ancestry.com is newer to the healthcare game, but reportedly gave Calico — Google’s longevity-focused subsidiary — access to its database.

Other companies — like Tempus and SOPHiA Genetics — are also aggregating your genomic data. They’ll surely enter drug development partnerships at some point.

Ultimately, this is part of a broader restructuring of the biopharmaceutical industry. The image above may look very different in 10 years.

I’m working on a series that details the shifting landscape.

Subscribe to stay tuned.

They have my data too,

Kedar Karkare, PhD

P.S. Has anyone seen an infographic that pulls together all of the different ways that your data is being sold and shows the collective value? I feel like this would be cool.

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