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Regeneron announces major collaboration to exome sequence UK Biobank genetic data more quickly

Regeneron announces major collaboration to exome sequence UK Biobank genetic data more quickly

A new collaboration of leading life sciences companies will speed up the provision of UK Biobank exome sequenced data to researchers worldwide, it is announced today.

Brought together by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, the team of AbbVie, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, AstraZeneca, Biogen and Pfizer will each commit $10 million to enable the dramatic acceleration of sequencing timelines. It means the exciting data will be available three years early – by 2019 rather than 2022 – for health researchers to use in their pioneering studies.

The exome sequencing initiative started last March when Regeneron and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) committed to analysing data from the first 50,000 UK Biobank participants. Now, all half a million participants will have their exome data read over the course of the next two years. The work will be done at the Regeneron Genetics Center (RGC), one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated human genetics sequencing centres.

"With mounting national and global health concerns due to widespread increases in obesity- related diseases like diabetes, and age-related diseases such as dementia, together with the ongoing threats of cardiovascular disease, cancer and infectious agents, it is great that so many leading Life Sciences companies are willing to put aside their individual differences and come together to bring this unprecedented ‘big data’ resource to the world."

George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., PH.D., President and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron

"The key to getting the very best out of UK Biobank is for scientific minds to work together, be that from industry or academia. News of this collaboration will encourage many researchers. The data will generate lots of new health insights, especially when combined with the very detailed health information participants so generously continue to provide."

Professor Sir Rory Collins, UK Biobank’s Principal Investigator