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Genentech and Human Longevity ink genomics deal

pharmafile | January 19, 2015 | News story | Research and Development, Sales and Marketing 23andME, DNA, Genentech, Illumina, hli, human longevity 

Genentech is partnering with US genetics firm Human Longevity (HLI) in another 2015 genomics deal to continue its push into the field.

The Roche-owned biotech firm has turned to HLI for help with sequencing and analysing genomes, and will make use of the biology company’s arsenal of Illumina and Pacific Biosciences sequencers.

The partnership gives Genentech another way to detect novel drug targets and biomarkers, plus the deal moves HLI closer to its goal of sequencing 40,000 genomes a year.

The US genetics business is also planning to buy more Illumina sequencers and hire 200 additional staff to handle the extra labour.

“We’re trying to build the world’s most powerful database by having a very large number of genomes and associated phenotype information to make this information meaningful. This deal is a step in that direction,” says Craig Venter, who is the founder, chairman, and chief executive of HLI that part of the J.Craig Venter Institute.

This collaboration follows another genomics arrangement by Genentech which only weeks ago saw it pay $10 million for DNA testing company 23andMe.

The transaction gives the Swiss giant’s biotech arm the genomic sequences of 3,000 people with Parkinson’s disease, after permission was given for anonymous genetic information to be shared for medical investigation.

Commenting on the deal, James Sabry who is the senior vice president and global head of Genentech partnering, says: “Genentech is dedicated to bringing forth treatments for patients with unmet medical needs. We are thrilled to be working with 23andMe and its diverse database of genomic data to support our research and development programmes.”

In a statement, the companies say the goal of the collaboration is “to identify new therapeutic targets for treating Parkinson’s disease”.

Roche has had an expensive 2015 so far, seeing it also pay $780 million for a majority stake in cancer genomics research firm Foundation Medicine, along with $545 million for French biotech Trophos.

Tom Robinson

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