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AstraZeneca to sequence 2 million genomes in hunt for new drugs

The UK company will work with genomics company Human Longevity

Ingrid Torjesen

Friday, 22 April 2016

UK pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has entered a deal with genomics company Human Longevity to sequence 2 million human genomes in an attempt to identify potential genetic variations that could unlock routes to new medicines.

The 2 million human genomes to be sequenced include 500,000 DNA samples collected by AstraZeneca in clinical trials. The aim is to use these and samples from volunteers, who have agreed to have their genomes sequenced and to provide access to detailed medical records, which are held in Human Longevity’s Knowledgebase, to identify genetic variations involved in every kind of disease.

The project has been made possible by a dramatic fall in the cost of genetic sequencing. Genomic sequencing now costs around $1,000 and takes just three days.

Craig Venter, co-founder and chief executive of Human Longevity (HLI), said: “We are excited to establish this long-term relationship with AstraZeneca who are now establishing themselves as a leader in genomic-focused research. We look forward to working together to use HLI's proprietary computational methods and genomic data insights to better inform clinical trials and drug development."

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