Anne Wojcicki of 23andMe Talks FDA, Being a CEO, and Motherhood

March 18, 2014

2:06 pm

Before her road led her to this year’s SXSW or her genetic ancestry company 23andMe, Anne Wojcicki spent 10 years working on Wall Street. During that time she realized that the healthcare system is based on monetizing illness and not many people were focused on keeping others healthy.

She began to think, and she came up with the idea that if you could collect the world’s healthcare data you could effectively revolutionize healthcare. That’s when 23andMe was started.

At first 23andMe marketed itself as a personal genome service, reading your genetic material and informing you what diseases you may be predisposed to. However the FDA sent them a letter on November 22, 2013 saying that they had to stop selling the healthcare service: 23andMe complied.

They complied because they want to be ground breaking and push the limits, but at the same time 23andMe wants people to adopt their system. One of the best things they can do, according to Wojcicki is to work with the FDA, comply, and become a medical device.

It’s not an easy road for the company, but Wojcicki spoke with us at SXSW and gave some advice for other entrepreneurs tackling huge issues. On one hand you have to follow what you’re passionate about, and on the other hand you have to prioritize different parts of your life at different times in terms of family, friends, and personal priorities.

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