Amgen, Illumina, and Nashville Biosciences Announce Genome Sequencing Agreement

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In the Lab eNewsletter, Pharmaceutical Technology's In the Lab eNewsletter, February 2023, Volume 18, Issue 2

deCODE genetics, a subsidiary of Amgen, will whole-genome sequence 35,000 African-American samples provided by Illumina and Nashville Biosciences.

Illumina, a DNA sequencing and array-based technologies provider, and Nashville Biosciences, a subsidiary of Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), have teamed up with Amgen to provide whole-genome sequencing of approximately 35,000 DNA samples. The sequencing of this sample cohort, which primarily comprises DNA from African-Americans, is intended to mitigate their underrepresentation in research for clinical applications of genomics. The sequencing will be performed by deCODE genetics, a subsidiary of Amgen.

According to a press release from Jan. 9, 2023, the sequencing of these samples is the first step in Illumina and Nashville Biosciences Alliance for Genomic Discovery (AGD) program. The agreement intends to whole-genome sequence at least 250,000 de-identified human DNA samples from VUMC’s BioBU biobank over the course of two and a half years.

"The initial cohort will be among the largest sequencing efforts involving African Americans to date," said Leeland Ekstrom, CEO, Nashville Biosciences, in the release. "Once complete, this data set will provide a wealth of new information about the human genome and accelerate the study of disease in—and discovery of new therapeutics for—populations less well represented in prior large-scale sequencing efforts. The opportunity to sequence this diverse set of samples will help broaden our understanding for individuals who have been underrepresented in genetic research and continue to experience health disparities."


"deCODE's sophisticated human data capabilities are well positioned to sequence these samples and analyze the resulting data to provide a better scientific understanding of disease through the context of human diversity," said Kári Stefánsson, founder, deCODE genetics, in the release. "Insights from human data, including both genetics and clinical records, can help inform how medicines may affect different patient populations."

Source: Illumina