MyHeritage Acquires Promethease and SNPedia

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Today we are announcing MyHeritage’s acquisition of SNPedia and Promethease, through acquiring the company that owned and operated them, River Road Bio, expanding our intellectual property in medical genetics. This marks our first consumer health acquisition and our 10th acquisition since MyHeritage’s founding. Promethease will be made free through the end of 2019 and SNPedia will remain a free wiki resource for academic and non-profit use.

SNPedia

SNPedia.com was launched in 2006 and is a wiki that contains a broad, community-curated knowledge base linking between genetic variants and medical conditions, as well as traits, citing over 30,000 peer-reviewed scientific publications. It is the primary encyclopedia and de facto go-to resource for information about genetic markers and has evolved to cover 110,413 genetic variants. SNPedia operates under a Creative Commons license, wherein it is a free resource for academic and non-commercial use, with only MyHeritage having the right to utilize it commercially. MyHeritage plans to maintain SNPedia as a free resource under the same terms and will utilize this comprehensive knowledge base to enhance future versions of MyHeritage’s DNA health products.

Promethease

Promethease.com is a literature retrieval service. It allows consumers to upload their raw DNA data (from services such as Ancestry.com, 23andMe, and others) and automatically compare it to SNPedia to see relevant scientific findings regarding their genome. The Promethease service currently costs $12, and offers consumers the option to store their DNA data. Since its launch in 2008, Promethease has become one of the world’s most popular consumer health services by allowing customers to obtain information based on their unique genetic makeup. Following this announcement, MyHeritage is transforming Promethease into a free service, effective today, and this free promotion will run until the end of 2019. MyHeritage intends to keep Promethease separate from its MyHeritage DNA health product line. Unlike Promethease, MyHeritage does not provide any health reports based on DNA data uploaded from other vendors. All of MyHeritage DNA’s health reports are based on clinical validation of the underlying DNA data.

“The acquisition of SNPedia and Promethease expands MyHeritage’s intellectual property in medical genetics. Going forward, SNPedia will empower us to broaden the scope of health reports provided by the MyHeritage DNA Health+Ancestry test and propel it to become a global market leader in consumer DNA testing. We are happy to keep SNPedia as a free resource for the academic community and for consumers,” said Dr. Yaniv Erlich, Chief Science Officer of MyHeritage.

“We are pleased with the acquisition by MyHeritage. We expect this to extend SNPedia’s contribution to even more consumers and thereby improve millions of lives through MyHeritage’s popular DNA testing platform,” said Dr. Greg Lennon, co-founder of SNPedia and Promethease.

DNA Data

Promethease currently contains hundreds of thousands of raw DNA files uploaded by customers who have tested with services such as Ancestry.com, 23andMe, and FamilyTreeDNA. The vast majority of Promethease customers are from the United States. As of November 1st, 2019, for existing non-European Promethease users only, the DNA data that is on Promethease will be copied to the MyHeritage website into new user accounts that will be created for them. Users who have uploaded DNA files to Promethease will retain ownership of their data (MyHeritage asserts no ownership rights over the DNA data), and manage it on the MyHeritage website in private accounts accessible only to them, and receive free value-add services, in addition to the accounts they will continue to maintain on Promethease.

The accounts that will be created on MyHeritage for Promethease users will enjoy the special benefit of receiving not only free DNA Matching for relatives, but also free Ethnicity Estimates. Currently, users who upload their raw DNA data to MyHeritage receive free DNA Matches, but do not get Ethnicity Estimates. This extra feature is accessible for a  one-time unlock fee of $29 or by purchasing a site subscription. This benefit will be offered to Promethease users for free when their DNA is uploaded to MyHeritage, thereby saving them money and providing them with a free service that other users do not automatically receive. Some additional features will still require an unlock fee or a subscription, such as the Chromosome Browser. To learn about all of the benefits that will be available for free to Promethease users whose DNA kits will be uploaded to MyHeritage, read our DNA upload policy.

Non-European Promethease users who are not interested in having their DNA data and accounts copied to MyHeritage can log in to Promethease and delete their DNA data permanently before November 1st, 2019, and their DNA data and accounts will not be copied. Promethease users will also be able to delete their DNA data and accounts permanently from MyHeritage and Promethease at any point thereafter. MyHeritage will de-duplicate the DNA data so that DNA kits that have already been uploaded separately to MyHeritage by the same users will not be copied over to MyHeritage again. For new users who sign up to Promethease on or after November 1st, 2019 and upload DNA data, it will be copied to new accounts created for them on MyHeritage on an ongoing basis.

People who wish to take a genetic health test or receive health reports are encouraged to purchase the MyHeritage DNA Health+Ancestry test, which is based on clinically validated genetic markers and robust scientific research.

Privacy

Promethease will send an email notification to all of its users in the coming week with details about the acquisition by MyHeritage and instructions regarding the potential data copy for non-European users, and instructions for opting in by European users. MyHeritage applies a strict privacy policy regarding DNA data, has never sold or licensed it to any third parties, and its privacy policy prohibits it from doing so without receiving explicit informed user consent. For as long as Promethease users have not granted such informed consent explicitly to MyHeritage, MyHeritage will never sell or license their DNA data to any third party.

Thanks,

The MyHeritage Team

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