Today, for less than $100, it is possible to purchase a genetic test on the Internet “which promises to provide information relating to a person’s geographical origins or even to identify an extensive family tree”. The market is dominated by two rival start-ups, namely Ancestry and 23andMe. The latter also markets tests to screen for predisposition to certain diseases. The financial stakes are high: “the market for genetic tests could exceed $5.8 billion in 2022 compared to $4.6 billion in 2017”. The tests are actually becoming cheaper but, on the flip side of the coin, harvested generic data are in fact selling at high prices to the pharmaceutical industry. Thus, Pfizer, Genentech or even Calico (linked to Google) are looking to access data to match them to clinical data gleaned from patients’ medical records and to develop “targeted treatments” using algorithms.
Le Monde, Chloé Hecketsweiler (17/01/2018)