Pharmaceutical giant, AstraZeneca, is working with genome pioneer, Craig Venter, to incorporate genomics in drug research and development to uncover the potential that genetic sequencing may have on discovering new medicines.

The new project will be used to identify new drug targets, identify the right patients for the trials and help advance personalised medicines by matching the right drug with the right patients.

AstraZeneca will create an in-house Centre for Genomics Research which will gather information from two million genome sequences including 500,000 DNA samples collected by AstraZeneca in global clinical trials.

In addition to collaborating with Venter’s genomics company, Human Longevity Inc., AstraZeneca will also partner with research institutions including the UK’s Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland.

“Using the power of genomics is the foundation of our ambition to develop the most innovative and impactful treatments for patients. With the advent of next generation sequencing and the increased sophistication of data analysis, the time is now right to immerse ourselves fully in the international genomics community through these pioneering collaborations and through the creation of our own genome centre,” said Executive Vice President at AstraZeneca, Menelas Pangalos.

Human Longevity will sequence full genomes and deploy its machine learning, pattern recognition and other analytical techniques. AstraZeneca will also gain access to Human Longevity’s unique database of up to one million integrated genomic and health records to add to its analysis. The company already has about 26,000 genomes and hopes to add 10 million human genomes.

“Together, with the rich clinical data from our biobank, we will translate these findings into better understanding of disease and ultimately, more effective treatments for patients,” said Executive Vice President at MedImmune, Bahija Jallal.

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