23andMe, a genetics startup, is teaming up with Genetech to find new treatments for Parkinson's disease. This is the first of several deals that the startup company will strike with big pharmaceutical and biotech firms this year, 2015.

Following the deal, Genentech, a unit of Roche Holding AG, will sequence the genomes of about 3,000 people suffering from Parkinson's from 23andMe's database.

The chief executive officer of 23andMe, Anne Wojcicki, is especially interested in Parkinson's disease. Her now-separated husband, Google co-founder Sergey Brin, discovered from a 23andMe test that he has a propensity to develop Parkinson's. The couple have donated about $150 million to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.

Parkinson's affects about 1 million people in the United States. It has no cure and there is no way of slowing the neurogenerative disorder. Some medications are prescribed to treat its symptoms.

23andMe has collected and studied the DNA of about 800,000 customers by using home kits that collect people's saliva. Founded in 2006, the company has been finding out details about people's ancestry and health conditions. In 2013, the Food and Drug Administration ordered the startup to stop offering health advice to people because it believed that people could take rash decisions about their health based on the information they were receiving from 23andMe.

The company was therefore left without a significant source of income. Since then the company has started providing its home kits in Canada and the United Kingdom and has tied up with major pharmaceuticals such as with Pfizer to map the DNA of 10,000 patients with inflammatory bowel disease.

23anMe does genotyping, which is a process of studying selective genetic variants that are linked to hereditary conditions, but in the new collaboration, Genentech will sequence patients' entire genomes in addition to conducting surveys of the test group, a far more comprehensive approach than genotyping.

Genentech has for some time been interested in Parkinson's. The company struck a deal with Prothena Corp. in 2013 to study antibodies targeting the disease, and in 2014, Genentech identified a protein that seems to contribute to the damage of brain cells in Parkinson's.

After the agreement ends, 23andMe will be able to conduct additional research on the data and make it available to other Parkinson's researchers.

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