Google Buys Stake in Genomics Info Start up Company

Google Inc. has taken a small stake in a biotech company that was co-founded by the wife of one of Google's founders, Sergey Brin, Google said in a U.S. regulatory filing on Tuesday.

Google said it had invested $3.9 million in the company, called

23andMe Inc., giving the Mountain View, California-based Google a minority stake in the start-up, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

23andMe is a privately held company that promises to help consumers understand and browse their own genetic information.

Besides Google, the initial round of outside funding in 23andMe includes venture capital firms New Enterprise Associates and Mohr Davidow Ventures and biotechnology giant Genentech Inc..

Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of 23andMe, was married earlier this month to Brin, Google's co-founder and president.

Prior to Google's investment in 23andMe, Brin provided around $2.6 million in interim debt financing to 23andMe, which was repaid as part of this financing transaction, the filing said.

Genentech's Chief Executive Arthur Levinson is a member of the board of directors of Google. The company said Google's audit committee had reviewed and approved the transaction after taking advice from independent advisors.

Linda Avey, a 20-year veteran of the biotech industry, is a co-founder of 23andMe, along with Wojcicki.

Esther Dyson, a veteran analyst of the computer and Internet industries, who now focuses on personal investment is a board member of 23andMe.

More details on 23andMe can be found at

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[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Go back and read the article again ... now, does _this_ give you the creeps or is it just me who is unduly paranoid? Note the presence of Esther Dyson (ICANN fame) on the board and the presence of Google as a financial backer. PAT]

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