deCODE genetics in Iceland has entered into an agreement with a consortium of government, charity, researchers and world leading biopharmaceutical and healthcare companies to undertake whole genome sequencing of UK Biobank participants. The project will allow the complete sequencing of the genetic code of all 500,000 participants in the UK Biobank. This challenging project represents the single most ambitious sequencing program ever undertaken in the world.
The UK Biobank is an extraordinary resource for medical research that Great Britain has built over the past 15 years. Furthermore, Great Britain has set an example by unselfishly making it available to scientists from all over the world.
The Whole Genome Sequencing of the UK Biobank participants will be performed by deCODE genetics together with the Wellcome Sanger Institute in the UK with an anticipated completion in the summer of 2021. This project will dramatically enhance the value of the UK Biobank’s uniquely rich data resource and will become a game-changing resource accessible to the global scientific community to understand, diagnose, treat and prevent life-changing diseases such as cancer and dementia.
The scale of the sequencing program presents unique challenges particularly in the way that the vast amounts of data are generated, stored and analyzed. deCODE has built a sequencing and analytical capacity required to execute this challenging project. The total amount of genetic data generated are roughly equivalent to around 5,000 billion pages of text and that will be linked to the detailed clinical and lifestyle data for each participant in the UK Biobank program.
“deCODE is taking human genetic research to a new level, applying the methods we pioneered in Iceland to lead a worldwide search for disease genes” said Kari Stefansson, CEO of deCODE Genetics, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amgen. “As drug development programs backed by genetics are twice as likely to succeed, our sequencing capabilities will be essential to the consortium, and the broader scientific community, to identify and validate promising drug targets for some of the most challenging diseases.”
Based in Reykjavik, Iceland, deCODE is a global leader in human genetics. Using its unique expertise and population resources, deCODE has discovered genetic risk factors for dozens of common diseases. One of the purposes of understanding the genetics of disease is to use it to invent new means of diagnosing, treating and preventing disease. deCODE is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN).
SOURCE: deCODE genetics