Google Inc.'s latest investment is all in the family, so to speak.
The Mountain View Internet company has invested $3.9 million in a biotech firm started by the wife of Google co-founder Sergey Brin, according to a regulatory filing by Google Tuesday.
Brin married Anne Wojcicki this month during a secret ceremony in the Bahamas, which Google didn't confirm until Tuesday's filing.
Her company, 23andMe Inc., intends to help consumers understand and browse their genetic information. The service, which relies on recent advancements in DNA analysis and proprietary software, is expected to open for business by the end of the year. The company declined to be more specific about its operations.
Jon Murchinson, a spokesman for Google, said in an e-mail that the investment will help his company "further our mission of organizing the world's information in this new and important field."
Google now holds a minority stake in 23andMe, a privately owned company in Mountain View that gets part of its name from the 23 chromosome pairs in humans.
New Enterprise Associates, Mohr Davidow Ventures and South San Francisco biotech company Genentech Inc. also invested in the early-round financing, which closed this month.
Brin, among the world's wealthiest individuals with an estimated $16 billion net worth, had loaned $2.6 million to 23andMe until it got formal financing. Following Google's investment, and those by the other parties, he was repaid.
Google's close ties to 23andMe aren't limited to Brin. Arthur Levinson, Genentech's chief executive, is a member of Google's board.
Given the relationships, Google's audit committee reviewed and approved Google's investment, following procedures for transactions with related parties, according to Google's regulatory filing. The committee received advice from an independent counsel along with a report from an independent adviser about 23andMe's valuation.
Murchinson said Brin recused himself from discussions about the investment at the management and board level in an effort to avoid any conflicts of interest.
Wojcicki, a former health care industry investor, co-founded 23andMe in 2006 alongside partner Linda Avey, a biopharmaceutical industry veteran. Esther Dyson, a prominent figure in the technology industry, serves on the board.
Wojcicki met Brin, 33, through her sister, Susan Wojcicki, Google's first landlord and a current Google vice president. Susan Wojcicki rented her Menlo Park garage to Google, the startup, in 1998 just after Brin and partner Larry Page left Stanford.
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