UK Biobank

UK Biobank

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and GSK have partnered up to generate genetic sequence data from the 500,000 volunteer participants contained in the UK Biobank. 

The collaboration aims to support the development of new drugs for a range of serious and life-threatening diseases. Drug development is a tortuous process, with only 1 in 10, around 90%, of potential medicines that enter clinical trials failing to prove their efficacy or even adequate safety. Many of these failures are due to an incomplete understanding of the link between the biological target of a drug and human disease.

“Our large-scale sequencing and analysis capabilities, coupled with U.K. Biobank’s vast trove of de-identified biological and medical information, pose tremendous opportunities for clinically meaningful discoveries that can make a difference for patients,” said George D Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron.

“We have long recognized that advancing the pace and clinical utility of human genetics research requires collaboration and an open exchange of data between industry, academia and public health groups, and we are pleased to expand upon our existing foundational research collaborations through this effort with the U.K. Biobank and GSK. For Regeneron, we believe this initiative will greatly enhance our existing efforts in gene discovery and genetics-guided drug development.”

U.K. Biobank is the world’s most comprehensive health resource. It has been collecting information and samples from its 500,000 participants for the past ten years, and ensures that data provided to health researchers does not identify them. Regeneron and GSK have committed an initial investment to enable the sequencing of the first 50,000 samples, to be completed before the end of 2017.

Sequencing of U.K. Biobank’s samples will be performed at the Regeneron Genetics Center facility, one of the world’s largest human genetics sequencing centers. Sequencing of the full 500,000 samples in U.K. Biobank is expected to take three to five years.

“I believe that we are in a new era of drug discovery because of a fundamental change in our understanding of human biology, driven largely by advances in human genetics. U.K. Biobank is one of the most important health resources available to scientists today, offering a rich source of information about health and disease,” said Patrick Vallance, President, R&D at GSK.