AstraZeneca Launches Genomics Initiative for Drug Development
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AstraZeneca and its global biologics research and development arm, MedImmune, have formed an integrated genomics initiative for drug discovery and development across its entire research and development pipeline. The initiative includes new collaborations with Human Longevity, Inc., US; the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, UK, and The Institute for Molecular Medicine, Finland. AstraZeneca will also establish an in-house Center for Genomics Research, which will develop a atabase comprising genome sequences from samples donated by patients in its clinical trials together with associated clinical and drug response data.

AstraZeneca aims to share up to 500,000 DNA samples with Human Longevity, Inc, from which Human Longevity will sequence full genomes and deploy its machine learning, pattern recognition, and other analytical techniques. These genomic samples will include those donated by patients under optional informed consent in AstraZeneca's clinical trials. AstraZeneca will also gain access to Human Longevity's unique database of up to 1 million integrated genomic and health records to add to its analysis.

AstraZeneca is also creating an in-house Center for Genomics Research focused on the creation and use of a database of genome sequences from samples donated by patients in its clinical trials over the past 15 and over the next 10 years, integrated with associated clinical and drug response data. In addition, the center will access up to 500,000 genomes available through AstraZeneca's collaborations and from the public domain. The center will be located in AstraZeneca's corporate headquarters in Cambridge, UK, and will work closely with the international genomics community to derive broad scientific and clinical benefit from these genomic resources.

AstraZeneca will establish a research team led by a genomics expert of international reputation, embedded within The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute's Genome Center in Cambridge, UK. AstraZeneca will share genomic samples and associated clinical data, plus its drug development expertise across core therapy areas. The two parties will identify new targets and biomarkers with potential use in diagnostic tests.

AstraZeneca will collaborate with The Institute for Molecular Medicine, Finland and its partners in Finland and the US, to study genes of interest in the Finnish population, which is known to carry a higher than normal frequency of rare variants. Additionally, Finland has an integrated health record system supported by a national biobanking law that facilitates recall of volunteers for thorough clinical evaluation.

Source: AstraZeneca

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