AstraZeneca to Sequence 2 Million Human Genome for Rare Disease Genes
The U.S. based company Human Longevity Inc. (HLI), which is dedicated towards development of world’s largest human genome sequencing center in the world partnered for 10 years with the UK based AstraZeneca to propel the objective of complete sequencing of about 2 million human genomes and to compile a vast database of genomic and medical records to identify the rare genetic sequences related to various chronic diseases.
AstraZeneca will sequence and analyse DNA samples of 500,000 volunteers as well as the medical samples taken over the past 15 years in its global clinical trials to search for the uncommon genetic variants responsible for complex diseases like diabetes and cancer. HLI will provide access of the HLI’s Knowledgebase™ to AstraZeneca and share these data on it.
Apart from the genome pioneer J.Craig Venter’s HLI, AstraZeneca also tied up with Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, UK and Institute for Molecular Medicine, Finland. AstraZeneca has also placed a research team in the Sanger Institute’s Genome Centre to identify novel biomarkers for diagnostic tests with the help of the sequenced human genome database. AstraZeneca will set up Centre for Genomics Research in its Cambridge, UK headquarters to closely follow the database building process.
Menelas Pangolas, Head of Innovative Medicines & Early Development, AstraZeneca kept undisclosed the exact amount to be invested in this project and left us wondering by saying it will be “hundreds of millions of dollars”.
“With the advent of next generation sequencing and the increased sophistication of data analysis, the time is now right to immerse ourselves fully in the international genomics community through these pioneering collaborations and through the creation of our own genome centre,” said Menelas Pangalos, head of Innovative Medicines & Early Development at AstraZeneca.
AstraZeneca is hopeful that it can lead to identification of novel drug targets and the clinical trials on the volunteers will lead to the discovery of the personalized treatment for the patients.
Earlier, in 2015, Roche’s Genentech signed a multi-year agreement with HLI to perform whole genome sequencing of tens of thousands of genomes. In 2014, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals collaborated with Pennsylvania’s Geisinger Health System to utilize the next-generation DNA sequencing technology for the analysis and sequencing of genetic material of participants to study the genetic determinants of human disease.
AstraZeneca is working towards utilizing the genome sequencing technology with HLI in its R&D pipeline projects to use the database for the potential drug development in its concerned field like diabetes, oncology and inflammation.
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