Google has invested an additional $2.6 million in 23andMe, the personal genetics company co-founded by Anne Wojcicki, who is the wife of Sergey Brin, a Google co-founder.
Google’s investment was part of a second round of financing for the company, in which Mr. Brin invested $10 million of his own money. Other investors include New Enterprise Associates, a venture capital firm that, like Google, put money into the company’s first financing round. Google said it owns a minority interest in the company. (23andMe is raising a total of $24 million in the current financing round, according to its own regulatory filing.)
In addition to the investment, Google said it was leasing space to 23andMe.
As it has before, Google said in the filing that it took measures to ensure that its decision to invest in 23andMe and the lease agreement were free of potential conflicts of interest :
Google’s Audit Committee reviewed and approved the investment and lease transactions as part of Google’s procedures for entering into transactions with related parties. The valuation of the Series B investment was determined by negotiations between New Enterprise Associates and 23andMe in which Google played no role. The terms and conditions of the lease with 23andMe were reviewed by an independent real estate appraiser. As part of its decision-making process, the Audit Committee was advised by independent counsel.
At the time of its first investment, Google’s chief executive, Eric E. Schmidt, said Google decided to back the company financially after it instituted checks and balances to ensure objectivity, including the recusal of Mr. Brin from any discussions.
23andMe offers genetic tests that allows customers to map their DNA and helps them find information about their ancestry and their risk of getting certain diseases. Using the service, Mr. Brin discovered that he had a genetic mutation that increases his risk of contracting Parkinson’s disease.
A Google spokeswoman, Jane Penner, said the investment in 23andMe was not made by its recently formed venture capital group but rather by the company’s corporate development arm.
By Miguel Helft