Drug Company Gains Access to 23andMe's Massive DNA Library


.Major pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline has inked a four year deal with 23andMe, a genetic testing company that has a massive database of DNA information. 

The partnership, announced Wednesday, will focus on the development of new drug treatments, beginning with a focus on possible treatments for Parkinson's disease.

Roughly 5 million people have submitted a DNA sample to 23andMe to discover their ancestral background as well as general information about their health, such as certain conditions and diseases they might be predisposed to.

Customers won't be required to participate in the $300 million deal, however.

"Our top priority is our customer, and empowering each individual with the options to participate in research. As always, customers choose whether or not to participate in research," 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki wrote in a blog post. "Customers can choose to opt-in or opt-out at any time."

Though there is the option to opt-out, not every customer will be aware of every detail of the user agreement, and many people have privacy concerns. Some may have excitedly submitted genetic material hoping to find out more about where their family members come from without realizing what else their personal data may be used for.

Unlike other important personal info that can be bought and sold by a company, such as email addresses and phone numbers, DNA data cannot be changed or replaced.