23andMe Partners With Fertility Startup To Develop Infertility Genetics Test


Genome sequencing vendor 23andMe has partnered with Celmatix, a New York-based startup working to develop a genetics test designed to improve the diagnosis and treatment of infertility. Founded in 2010, Celmatix has raised $19.5 million in investment capital, coming in the form of a Series A led by Topspin Partners in 2013.

Since its launch, Celmatix has been cataloging genetic mutations associated with infertility and has thus far compiled a list of 5,200 known genetic biomarkers. The team is partnering with 23andMe to gain access to its massive de-identified genetic database in an effort to learn more about these biomarkers. Since its launch in 2006, 23andMe has amassed a database containing hundreds of thousands of fully sequenced genetic samples, that it markets to pharmaceutical companies and other research organizations. The genetic data is valuable because 23andMe also collects self-reported answers to extensive health questionnaires that are submitted alongside the genetic samples. These questionnaires capture detailed information on a variety of health conditions, including fertility, and will help Celmatix learn which genetic mutations are most prevalent among infertile women.

Celmatix is working to transform its research findings into a marketable genetic test that will help providers identify patients at a higher risk of experiencing infertility. Additionally, the team will use genetic data to determine whether women with certain mutations have improved outcomes with certain treatments. Ideally, this information could lead to personalized fertility treatment, similarly to how genetic data is being used to guide cancer treatment plans. Lastly, Celmatix will use 23andMe’s data to begin looking for genetic markers that forecast early decline in ovarian function. To monetize the business, Celmatix will market its services to fertility clinics who can then, in turn, offer personalized treatment plans to patients.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, though since its falling out with the FDA, 23andMe has signed a number of research partnerships and now monetizes its business primarily through these partnerships, rather than through the direct-to-consumer genetic test sales it initially launched with.

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