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Illumina, Nashville Biosciences enter multi-year agreement to speed up medicines development

San Diego
Wednesday, January 12, 2022, 12:00 Hrs  [IST]

Illumina, Inc. and Nashville Biosciences, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), announced a multi-year agreement to accelerate medicines development through large-scale genomics and the establishment of a preeminent clinico-genomic resource.

Using Illumina's next-generation sequencing (NGS) platforms, scientists and researchers will be able to better identify disease associations and targets for intervention by analyzing data derived from VUMC's extensive, high-quality biobank of approximately 250,000 de-identified human DNA samples and associated longitudinal, structured medical data.  

Drug discovery is a difficult, expensive, and often time-consuming endeavour, with 90 percent of therapies failing in development. Medicines available today work on just a few hundred targets in the body while around 3,000 genes encode proteins that may be receptive to drug intervention. Genomics-based methods can find targets that are more likely to modify disease in a beneficial way, having the potential to greatly improve the speed of therapy development.

The BioVU biobank includes a de-identified data set of approximately 250,000 human DNA samples extracted from discarded blood collected during routine clinical testing and consented for research use, aligned with extensive structured clinical data derived from VUMC's electronic medical records over the past 15 years. Illumina will deliver whole-genome sequencing on the samples and upload the data to the Illumina Connected Analytics platform. Together, Nashville Biosciences and Illumina will establish a commercial alliance of multiple pharmaceutical and biotechnology partners to analyze the data for drug discovery and therapy development.

"Nashville Biosciences' enriched biobank data, coupled with Illumina's extensive genomics and bioinformatics expertise, will enable scientists and researchers to generate new insights into disease and develop new medicines," said Joydeep Goswami, chief strategy and corporate development officer of Illumina. "Together, we will be able to identify potential targets that could lower costs, improve development timelines, and make therapies more effective for patients."

"Through BioVU and other initiatives by talented individuals from across our campus, Vanderbilt holds a special place at the forefront of personalized medicine. This agreement with Illumina is a next step, allowing us to utilize its global presence and technology to join with industry partners, realizing our vision to achieve the full promise of clinical and genomic data we have developed," said Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, president and chief executive officer for Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Genomic analyses and services anticipated through the collaboration will include genome- and phenome-wide association studies, genomic interpretation (including artificial intelligence-based interpretation), and other analytic approaches that combine clinical and genomic data sets to study human health and disease.


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