Regeneron Pharmaceuticals is spearheading a consortium of life sciences companies to accelerate the largest widely available ‘big data’ human sequencing resource.
Together with collaborators AbbVie, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, AstraZeneca, Biogen and Pfizer, the project will fund the generation of genetic exome sequence data from the 500,000 volunteer participants who make up the UK Biobank health resource.
The newly announced collaborators will each commit $10 million to enable a dramatic acceleration of sequencing timelines, and additional companies are considering joining the consortium.
Regeneron will conduct the sequencing effort. The sequencing data will be paired with detailed, de-identified medical and health records within the UK Biobank resource, including enhanced measures such as brain, heart and body imaging, to create an unparalleled resource for linking human genetic variations to human biology and disease.
It was originally planned that sequencing of all 500,000 samples in the UK Biobank would be completed by 2022, with the first 50,000 people sequenced during 2017 with funding from Regeneron and GlaxoSmithKline.
Now, by engaging several leading Life Sciences companies to form this new consortium, it will be possible to complete the exome sequencing of all 500,000 participants by the end of 2019, with all data made broadly available by UK Biobank to researchers by the end of 2020.
This consortium effort thus greatly accelerates delivery to the global scientific community of the largest ‘big data’ resource linking human sequence data to other health-related information. Sequencing of UK Biobank’s samples will continue to be performed at the Regeneron Genetics Center facility, one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated human genetics sequencing centres.