The initiative is similar to the All of Us program being run by the National Institutes of Health in the United States
Genomics England, an initiative run by the Department of Health in the United Kingdom’s Neational Health Services (NHS), announced to day that it will use Edico Genome’s DRAGEN analysis platform to enhance its sequencing practices.
The project was set up as part of the country’s 100,000 Genomes Project, which aims to sequence that many genomes from patients within the NHS. The initiative is similar to the All of Us program being run by the National Institutes of Health in the United States, which aims to sequence 1,000,000 Americans to gain important health insights.
Genomics England hopes Edico Genome’s next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology will help them improve efficiency and become more adept at diagnosing rare diseases.
"This partnership demonstrates our commitment to harnessing the most innovative technologies in the world to maximize patient benefit," the initiative’s chief commercial officer Joanne Hackett said in an official statement. The company is already using DRAGEN to reprocess 5,000 whole human genomes from patients with rare diseases.
The NHS estimates that half of all Britons will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in life, and that 3 million people in the UK currently suffer from a rare disease. For its purposes, the company defines a rare disease as one that impacts 1 in at least 2,000 individuals.
Genomics England was founded as a government-owned company in 2013, coinciding with the 65th anniversary of NHS. According to its website, it is already more than 40% of the way to its goal: As of December 2017, 41,582 patients have been sequenced.
Edico Genome president and CEO Pieter van Rooyen, PhD said that his team was “honored” to be involved in the “important undertaking” of helping to identify rare diseases.
"Our bioinformatics and engineering teams are committed to pushing the envelope in terms of accuracy, sensitivity, speeds and scalability to ensure the highest level of personalized care can be delivered in a timely, cost effective and economical manner,” he said in the statement.
Edico Genome emphasizes the accuracy and speed of its DRAGEN platform. Recently, the company demonstrated its capabilities by sequencing 1,000 pediatric genome samples from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in 2 hours and 25 minutes. That feat was granted a Guinness World Record for “Fastest time to analyze 1,000 human genomes.”