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The genetics testing company 23andMe will enter the public markets via a special purpose acquisition corporation sponsored by Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, a deal that values the company at $3.5 billion.

The transaction with VG Acquisition Corp. will provide a burst of capital to 23andMe as it seeks to expand its business beyond direct-to-consumer genetic testing to develop novel therapeutics. Last fall, 23andMe formed a partnership with the drug giant GlaxoSmithKline to discover new drugs using data culled from millions of the company’s customers.

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