Drew Yates at ThinkGene has a delightfully cynical take on the personal genomics industry:
I know 23andMe’s game, it’s the “break the mean with variance” game,
and it’s the same Silicon Valley game that’s been played by internet
media companies for the last decade. How to play: a network of superior
talent and funding backs a group of startups that executes something
outrageous and otherwise unobtainable by contractual or legal
permission (like YouTube, Napster, Google itself… have we forgotten the
shear audacity of copying all the information in the world without
permission?) Then, that startup pushes to spread that new idea as far
into the public as possible before lumbering regulatory agencies and
competitors can react. When the opposition (like RIAA, the State of New
York, etc) finally mounts a counter attack, it now must compromise
between the unsustainable but irretractable audacity of the startup and
the previous status quo. The resulting compromise between these two
extremes settles far beyond what could have been arranged in advance.
I’m incredibly naive when it comes to the biotech business world, so I can’t testify to the accuracy of Drew’s depiction – but any comments from industry insiders would be welcomed.