23andMe to shut off third-party access to its genome API: CNBC

GlaxoSmithKline recently made a $300 million investment in 23andMe in a four-year drug and target development collaboration deal using its genomic and phenotypic data. (Pixabay)

Home DNA test kit maker 23andMe is cutting off third-party developers from directly accessing its deidentified genomic data, according to a report from CNBC.

In an email sent by the company to developers and obtained by the network, 23andMe said its open API will be disabled in the next two weeks, with apps only being able to access reports generated by the company and not the rich information generated by its consumers. Research partners will still be able to access the raw data.

23andMe first began granting data access to third-party developers in September 2012, as a way to crowdsource applications for its customers, while requiring individual-level consent for all information use.

The API has been used to integrate genomics into electronic medical records, clinical care and fitness and diet trackers, as well as providing entertainment through exploring ancestry or creating personalized pieces of art.

RELATED: Pfizer links 15 genome sites to depression by digging into 23andMe data

More focused research applications have included Pfizer’s use of the database to identify 15 genomic regions believed to be linked to depression.

Through an NIH-funded study published in Nature Genetics, researchers gathered data from more than 300,000 people in 23andMe’s database, with 75,000 self-identifying with depression diagnoses.

Pfizer ran further analyses using a replication dataset featuring another 150,000 people, with 45,000 diagnosed with depression, leading to the discovery of 17 single-nucleotide polymorphic variations from 15 regions reaching genomewide significance. Previously, an earlier study of 6,000 people with depression was only able to uncover two areas of interest.

RELATED: FDA allows 23andMe to sell DTC genetic tests for 10 conditions

According to the email cited by CNBC, 23andMe is updating its API program to “focus on apps that build on the interpretations and results” provided to its customers.

GlaxoSmithKline made a $300 million investment in 23andMe late last month, as part of a four-year, 50-50 collaboration deal using its genomic and phenotypic data to advance a number of product development programs and discover new drug targets. GSK will also analyze the database to validate its portfolio and support enrollment in its clinical trials.

The agreement features an option to extend the collaboration into a fifth year, with GSK becoming 23andMe’s exclusive drug target discovery partner.