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Partnership with Regeneron for UK Biobank exome sequencing

In January 2018, we became part of a collaboration along with four other pharmaceutical companies that aims to speed up the exome sequencing of 500,000 UK participants, to help researchers and patients around the world.1

 

Sequencing a person’s whole genome is time-consuming and expensive. That’s why some researchers choose to sequence the 1% of protein-coding genes in a genome, known as the exome.2

 

Through exome sequencing, researchers can begin to identify mutations in known genes that can aid diagnosis, identify new targets for treatment and in the longer term lead to potential new therapies.2

Between 2006 and 2010, the UK Biobank recruited 500,000 people who gave blood, urine and saliva samples for widespread research use.3 Participants also filled out an elaborate questionnaire about their habits and conditions and agreed to have their health data collected both retrospectively and updated on an ongoing basis, approximately once each year.3

The retrospective data allows researchers to look at history of disease while the prospective data will allow researchers to understand what might contribute to the development of new cases of disease.

Announced in January 2018, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals brought together AbbVie, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, AstraZeneca, Biogen and Pfizer who will each provide $10 million funding to enable the Regeneron Genetics Center (RGC) to expedite the sequencing as part of one of the industry's most ambitious 'pre-competitive' research efforts.1 This collaboration builds upon the original sequencing initiative started with Regeneron and GSK who committed to analysing data from the first 50,000 UK Biobank participants.1

The project will potentially make the exome data of all 500,000 participants available 3 years early, by 2019 rather than 2022, with consortium members having exclusive access to the data for 6-12 months.2,4

The best part of this massive medical endeavor? By the end of 2020 the collected data will be open to any researcher who submits an application approved by a UK Biobank committee.4 Any results are required to be released back to the UK Biobank, as the aim of the resource is to improve the health of future generations.3

We are proud to contribute to the advancement of genetic research by joining this important initiative, which is poised to provide new insights into human health and could help guide the research efforts of Pfizer and our consortium partners as we continually work toward our shared mission of bringing new therapies to patients in need."

Morten Sogaard, Vice President, Target Science & Technologies at Pfizer Inc.

 

References:

  1. UK Biobank, 8th January 2018, Regeneron announces major collaboration to exome sequence UK Biobank genetic data more quickly
  2. NCBI, 2nd July 2015, Exome Sequencing: Current and Future Perspectives
  3. UK Biobank, Updated 21 March 2018, About the UK Biobank
  4. Genome Web, 8th January 2018, Regeneron Partners With AbbVie, Alnylam, AstraZeneca, Biogen, Pfizer to Sequence UK Biobank Samples

 

PP-PFE-GBR-1262 / July 2018