GSK and Regeneron partner with Biobank to analyse 500,000 genetic profiles

pharmafile | March 23, 2017 | News story | Research and Development Biobank, GSK, Regeneron 

GlaxoSmithKline and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals are to band together in a joint effort with UK Biobank – “the world’s most detailed biomedical database” – with a goal of analysing health and genetic data of half a million middle-aged and elderly British citizens over five years in order to shed new light on the discovery of new treatment solutions.

The partnership will utilise Regeneron’s large gene sequencing centre in New York to reach the goal, with a provisional benchmark of 50,000 samples analysed by the end of the year.

The samples held by Biobank were originally collected between 2006 and 2010 from volunteers aged between 40 and 69. As time passes and these volunteers increasingly develop ailments such as dementia and cancer, the database grows in utility, as these conditions can then be cross-checked against the stored genes.

In a situation they refer to as ‘pre-competitive’ Regeneron and GSK maintain nine months exclusive rights to process the data before it is made fully available to the scientific community. Findings generated from these studies will also be made public. Biobank will not charge the companies beyond sample retrieval and shipping costs, with the pair’s work in making the sequenced DNA data available to all scientists considered sufficient payment.

It is expected, given current costs of such ‘exome’ sequencing of around $300 per individual, that the full 500,000 will generate costs of up to $150 million.

Matt Fellows

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