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ADVANCE Discourse: Lab

Geisinger Partners with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

Published January 21, 2014 11:49 AM by Michael Jones

The influence of genetic sequencing has left its mark across the healthcare industry. In a recent partnership with Pennsylvania’s Geisinger Health System, Regeneron Pharmiceuticals, who recently came out with Eylea for age-related macular degeneration, is looking to take some of the the first substantial steps in making that vision a reality. A recent story from the New York Times detailed the extent of the project.

According to the article, the price of whole genome sequencing has already dropped significantly since it was first announced and continues to do so as more and more advancements are made in the field, it hasn’t quite reached the “$1000 genome” mark yet. As such, the collaboration between Regeneron Pharmiceuticals and Geisinger Health will mainly be focused on patient exomes rather than the entire genome at first. The study, which reflects smaller projects across the country and around the world, will be mutually beneficial to both parties.

 “Scientifically and medically, it’s pretty exciting,” said Leslie G. Biesecker, MD, chief of the genetic disease research branch at the National Human Genome Research Institute, in the New York Times piece. “As far as I’m aware, it’s the largest clinical sequencing undertaking in this country so far by a long shot.”

All patient information used by Regeneron will remain confidential and used for research, while Geisinger will be able to keep the patient data for their own records. The New York Times article continued, noting similar public studies in Britain, Saudi Arabia, and varying health systems across the United States. Additionally, the department of veterans affairs is also planning a large-scale DNA collection as the price of sequencing continues to drop.

Since it was announced over a decade ago, the industry has been expecting a surge of new drugs targeting our genome. The potential Impact of prescriptions that function and work directly with a patient’s DNA stands as a landmark in treatments. As genetic medicine is a field that has been poised to expand rapidly for years, the industry can finally expect to see more genetic-based treatments and medications along with increased testing for patients with the shrinking cost of sequencing options. 

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