Friday, January 25, 2008

23andMe(TM) Launches Web-Based Personal Genome Service(TM) Outside U.S., Empowering Individuals to Access and Understand Their Own Genetic Information

Business Wire via NewsEdge Corporation :

Business Editors/Science Writers

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--January 22, 2008--23andMe, Inc., a privately-held personal genetics company, announced today that it has begun making its services available to consumers in Canada and 49 European countries. The company, which officially launched in the U.S. on November 16, 2007, helps individuals understand their own genetic information through the latest advances in DNA analysis technologies and web-based interactive tools.

23andMe was recently selected as a 2008 Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum and will be participating in the 2008 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting from January 23-28, 2008 in Davos, Switzerland. Representatives from the company will be available to press and forum attendees at the 23andMe Booth on Wednesday, January 23 rd to Saturday, January 26 th 2008 from 10.00am – 2.00pm and 5.00pm – 11.00pm CET daily. The 23andMe Booth will be located on the first floor of the Belvedere Hotel (Promenade 89/7270 Davos-Platz) in Davos.

The 23andMeTM service enables its customers to:

Search and explore genes contributing to their personal characteristics, such as lactose intolerance, athletic ability, and food preferences;

Learn how the latest research studies relate to their genomes;

Compare their profiles to family and friends who are also 23andMe participants and trace the inheritance of genes associated with specific traits;

Discover genetic roots and find out where and how their ancestors lived and learn about the prehistoric events they experienced, and;

Actively participate in a new research approach and contribute to the advancement of the field of genetics.

Linda Avey, co-founder of 23andMe, said, "We are receiving overwhelming interest in our services outside the U.S. and are pleased to now offer them in Canada and Europe. Our web-based service model has made the European and Canadian offering possible, and we hope to continue to expand our global footprint to additional locations in the future. Ms. Avey continued, "We believe 2008 will be a year in which our understanding of the human genome will increase significantly through international research efforts, and we are eager to continue connecting individuals to this growing knowledge base of genetic information."

“23andMe came together because we believe in empowering individuals by helping them understand their genetic make-up and actively engaging them in the development of new ways to accelerate research,” said Anne Wojcicki, co-founder of 23andMe. “We enter the European and Canadian markets with great momentum and are excited to continue toward our goal of offering our services to the global community.”

How 23andMe’ s services work:

23andMe sends individuals a saliva kit containing a bar-coded tube for saliva collection. Customers then use the enclosed mailing materials to send their samples to 23andMe’ s contracted laboratory. The DNA is then extracted and exposed to a microchip-like device made by Illumina, Inc., a leading developer of genetic analysis tools (Nasdaq: ILMN), that reads more than half a million points in the individual's genome, including a proprietary set of over 30,000 information-rich markers, chosen by 23andMe scientists, to produce a detailed genetic profile.

Once the analysis has been completed, individuals are able to use their own private login to access their data via 23andMe’ s secure website. Using 23andMe’ s web-based tools, individuals can explore their ancestry, see what genetic research means for them and compare themselves to friends and family members.

Participants become part of a community that works together to advance the overall understanding of the human genome.

Joining the 23andMe Community

To learn more and embark on your own personal genetic journey, please visit:

23andMe is now available to consumers in the following locations: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States and Vatican City State.

About 23andMe

23andMe, Inc. is a privately-held personal genetics company dedicated to helping individuals understand their own genetic information through DNA analysis technologies and web-based interactive tools. The company's Personal Genome Service enables individuals to gain deeper insights into their ancestry and inherited traits. 23andMe, Inc., was founded by Linda Avey and Anne Wojcicki in 2006, and the company is advised by a group of renowned experts in the fields of human genetics, bioinformatics and computer science. Its Series A investors include Genentech, Inc., Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) and New Enterprise Associates. More information is available at

23andMe and Personal Genome Service are trademarks of 23andMe, Inc. All other marks belong to their respective owners.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Women More Likely to Turn to Web than Friends or Family for Health Info (The Contraception Marketplace)

Women More Likely to Turn to Web than Friends or Family for Health Info

source: COMSCORE

For health information, women turn to the internet more than to friends, family or significant others - and second only to consulting physicians - according to comScore; moreover, 85 percent of online women have researched women's health issues, including 63 percent who've researched birth-control options, reports MarketingCharts.

The comScore Pharmaceutical Solutions study was designed to help explain how women choose their birth control method, how they view alternative methods and ultimately whether their online activity influences their offline decisions.


"Traditionally, women have relied on friends, family or a significant other for health-related information, including sexual health and contraception," said Carolina Petrini, comScore senior vice-president. "But today, with the influx of newer-generation birth control methods and nontraditional pill regimens, more and more women are turning to the internet to sort through the clutter and organize their findings."

User-Generated Content an Opportunity

The comScore also study evaluated the use and appeal of user-generated content (UGC) - such as blogs, forums, or chatrooms - among women seeking birth-control information online: One-third of respondents said they have consulted birth control-related UGC, with more than 40 percent being open to the idea.


Choosing Birth Control - Drivers and Deterrents

With regard to factors influencing women's birth control choice, survey respondents said effectiveness was the most valued attribute. However, only 9 percent said they have objected to various forms of birth control because they believe them to be ineffective.

The two main reasons that respondents would not consider a specific form of birth control are perceived side effects (45 percent) and inconvenience (42 percent):


The study findings also showed that perceptions about side effects and inconvenience varied across the many forms of birth control:

  • For example, some survey respondents said they would not consider switching to the birth control pill, hormonal injections, patches and implants because of perceived side effects.
  • Alternatively, some respondents said they would not consider vaginal rings and diaphragms because they perceive them to be inconvenient or difficult to use.

"The findings suggest that because women generally believe birth control to be effective across forms, their decision-making process is largely based on their perceptions about side effects or inconvenience - which can differ from form to form," said Petrini. "It is important for healthcare professionals and manufacturers of birth control products to understand these differing perceptions and behaviors so they can more effectively communicate with consumers and dispel misconceptions about a specific form of birth control."

About the study: For "The Contraception Marketplace" whitepaper, comScore surveyed 921 women between the ages of 18 and 44 who had been sexually active in the previous six months and had used a form of prescription or over-the-counter birth control.

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A&E Viral Gets 'Freaky'

A&E Viral Gets 'Freaky'
May 17, 2007
By Brian Morrissey

NEW YORK When the grungy guy in the video gets the second letter of your name right, interest is piqued. When he gets the full name and follows up with your phone number, eeriness sets in.

While Criss Angel, the magician star of A&E's Mind Freak show, might not be truly clairvoyant, he has a viral video campaign that makes it seem like he is. The push, created by Omnicom digital agency EVB, uses hundreds of dynamically combined video shots to create the illusion of mind reading.
Launched Tuesday, the viral push begins at, where visitors enter a friend's name and phone number. The site generates a Web address to forward, which hosts a video with the mind trick employing the recipient's name and number. Angel then follows up shortly afterwards with a pre-recorded, personalized call to say it was all a joke—along with a reminder to tune in to Mind Freak's premiere episode June 5.

Shop CEO Daniel Stein envisions the "Freak your mind" campaign, which targets 18-34-year-old males, approaching the viral success of EVB's "Elf yourself" push for OfficeMax, which generated for 35 million views in five weeks.

A key to both campaigns is that they require minimal effort, according to Stein. "That's one of our best practices," he said. "The time investment is next to nothing."

EVB spent a day filming Angel using 500 different names and a series of numbers. Once a user enters a name and number, a video file is automatically assembled to match the details.

"It's not like the 411 operator," he said. "We had to make sure everything would come across seamless."

To enhance the illusion, the user is not sent to a URL, but instead EVB uses a site that appears like a run-of-the-mill video sharing site.

EVB is tracking video views and visits to, but its goal is to lure viewers to the show.

"The measurement and tying viral to metrics is still probably the most difficult thing," Stein said. "There's no real benchmark yet."

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What Do Casual Games And Pharmaceuticals Have In Common?

What Do Casual Games And Pharmaceuticals Have In Common?
(Media Post Publications)

 I RECENTLY FLIPPED THROUGH AN issue of Time magazine and noticed that pharmaceutical companies not only push their latest sleep aids, cholesterol suppressors and erectile dysfunction meds, but they also compete for market share amongst themselves.

The issue I looked at had ads for Actonel, AdVair, Ambien, Cymbalta, Cypher Stent, Medco, Rozerem and Zetia. My first thought was, There is an awful lot of money used to advertise these well-known drug brands. At the same time, I thought about the value proposition of online video advertising:

  • touches millions of consumers each month.
  • has sophisticated consumer targeting and tracking with each ad served.

Out of curiosity I looked at Time's online rate card, and with simple math I calculated the combined monthly ad-spend of all the pharmaceutical companies to be in the neighborhood of $3 million  -- just one issue. I looked deeper into what Time offers advertisers and found that the magazine guarantees 19.5 million impressions per month, charges a hefty $48 CPM for black-and-white full-page ads and a whopping $74 CPM for full-page color ads.  I also noticed that each pharmaceutical ad was two full pages:

  • Page one -- the actual full-color ad.
  • Page two -- the full-page disclosure that generally appears on the back of the page of the color ad

This suggests each drug company buys two pages per month for an average cost per thousand of $61. WOW.

With my background primarily in radio and television advertising, I was initially shocked by these prices, but then I considered that Time is printed weekly and has great pass-along rate -- think about those old magazines you see in your dentist's office. So, I can possibly justify that CPMs for ad space in a prestigious magazine such as Time far outweight national television CPMs (range is generally $5 to $60 including cable and broadcast).


According to Time's online media kit, the audience's

  • Median age is 48.
  • It skews 54 percent male.
  • Median household income is $68,500.

Time also offers advertisers the opportunity to appear adjacent to or wrapped around contextually relevant articles. I believe this is a pretty good place for the pharmaceutical companies to reach potential or existing customers.


Now let's take a look at how the pharmaceutical companies can take advantage of online video advertising. Assuming most of the pharmaceutical ads in Time have corresponding television creative:

  • The initial hurdle of no video assets is eclipsed.
  • Television ads can be repurposed.
  • In most cases, videos and banners are clickable.
  • In most cases, consumers can go directly from an ad to a landing page of the advertiser's choice (in this case the pharma companies can link directly to their product pages).


Online video advertising is as easy to buy as television, yet more accountable in terms of metrics, costs less per thousand impressions, and has the ability to link a consumer directly to an advertiser via ad click-thru capabilities. So what else? Different types of inventory fit a variety of advertiser and marketer needs, including in-game, in-stream, overlay and custom options.

Consider online casual gaming for a moment. Often video ads run while the game player loads and during natural breaks in game play, i.e. when the cards are shuffled or between game levels. According to an eMarketer study, 80 percent of online casual gamers are female, with a median age of 47, 33% have children under 18 in the home, and the worldwide casual gaming audience is estimated to be over 200 million unique players. Median age of 47 -- that sounds familiar, maybe because Time's median age is 48. So, if I am P&G Pharmaceuticals and marketing Actonel to women suffering from osteoporosis, this is a prime place to target the demographic. Casual games are time wasters, and while traffic is highest from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the week, there are lots of people logged on to play late at night because they are up and cannot sleep; this creates a natural environment for this brand to reach the night owls.

Overall the Internet is a vast space of content. While many advertisers are weary of going from traditional media outlets to the cyber world, online video advertising offers access to the Web's hottest ad space while keeping advertisers in their comfort zone by executing media buys like television buys. Add in the engaged audience factor and the clickable videos, and the potential is astounding.

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