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Human Genetics Research Initiative to Accelerate Drug Discovery, Development

By Doris Mendieta
Posted on 27 Jan 2014
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A new collaboration of a pharmaceutical company and health system in the United States has been established with the goal of enhancing patient care and accelerating new drug discovery and developments.

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Tarrytown, NY, USA) and Geisinger Health System (Danville, PA, USA), one of the largest integrated health systems in the United States, serving approximately 3 million residents, announced a major research collaboration geared on investigating the genetic determinants of human disease.

The new research initiative will include one of the largest United States populations of participants for the analysis and sequencing of genetic material and comparison to long-term health outcomes. During the initial five-year collaboration term, Geisinger plans to gather samples from more than 100,000 consented patient volunteers, while Regeneron, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Regeneron Genetics Center, LLC, will perform sequencing and genotyping to generate de-identified genomic data. The size and extent of the study should allow great precision in identifying and confirmed the associations between genes and human disease.

The collaboration will benefit from Geisinger’s advanced sample collection and storage capabilities, the MyCode biorepository, and extensive electronic medical records. Regeneron has built an infrastructure to support sequencing and genotyping over the term of the collaboration. Regeneron intends to use its translational research and functional biology capabilities, including its VelociGene technology, to validate observed human genetic associations. “We are pleased to be embarking on this next generation human genetic sequencing project with Geisinger, a renowned integrated health care delivery system known for its innovation,” said Leonard S. Schleifer, MD, PhD, president and chief executive officer of Regeneron.

Next-generation DNA sequencing technology is enabling genetic research on a larger level was previously possible. The Regeneron-Geisinger genomics sequencing study is designed to utilize de-identified, clinical, and molecular data for medically significant associations in a blinded way that preserves patients’ privacy. The objective of the collaboration is to build a high-throughput platform for discovering and validating genetic factors that cause or influence a range of diseases where there are major unmet medical needs.

Regeneron is a science-based biopharmaceutical company that discovers, invents, develops, manufactures, and markets agents for the treatment of serious medical disorders. Regeneron markets medicines for eye diseases, colorectal cancer, and a rare inflammatory condition, and has product candidates in development in other areas of high unmet medical need, including hypercholesterolemia, oncology, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and atopic dermatitis.

Geisinger Health System is an integrated health services organization known for its innovative use of the electronic health record (EHR) and the development of innovative care models such as ProvenHealth Navigator and ProvenCare. GHS serves more than 3 million residents throughout 44 counties in central and northeastern Pennsylvania.

Related Links:

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals
Geisinger Health System

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