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Anne Wojcicki: 10 People Who Changed the Medtech Industry
Wojcicki, cofounder and CEO of 23andMe, is helping to make healthcare more personalized and data driven.
June 6, 2013
2 Min Read
Anne Wojcicki made a splash when she and cofounders Paul Cusenza and Linda Avey launched 23andMe in 2006. Named for the 23 pairs of chromosomes that form the structure of human DNA, the company was among the first to bring genetic testing to consumers, who can order a kit online, send back a saliva sample, and receive a report about what their genes say about their ancestry, traits, and chances of inheriting conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.
The company snagged early investments from heavy-hitter venture capital firms Mohr Davidow Ventures and New Enterprise Associates, biotech giant Genentech, and Google—whose cofounder, Sergey Brin, Wojcicki eventually married. In 2008, Time magazine named 23andMe’s retail DNA test the best invention of the year.
Cusenza and Avey have gone on to other ventures, but Wojcicki, a Yale-educated former biotech and healthcare financial analyst, stuck with 23andMe and currently serves as its CEO. With her at the helm, the company has slashed the price of genetic testing from $1000 when 23andMe launched to just $99 today. To date, more than 250,000 people have used its DNA testing services.
In addition to providing genetic information to consumers, 23andMe maintains a database for research by its own scientists and participates in research collaborations with a variety of organizations. The company has contributed to important genetic findings on conditions including nearsightedness, breast cancer, colon cancer, male pattern baldness, and Parkinson’s.
Through 23andMe, Wojcicki is helping to usher in a new era of healthcare in which patients are empowered, care is personalized, and decisions are driven by big data.
Wojcicki also works to encourage disruptive innovations through the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, a $3 million award recognizing excellence in research aimed at curing intractable diseases and extending human life, which she cofounded with other tech titans including Brin, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and Genentech chairman Arthur Levinson.
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