AbbVie, GMI, WuXi NextCODE Create 15-year Population Genomics Alliance

January 9, 2017
AbbVie, GMI, WuXi NextCODE Create 15-year Population Genomics Alliance
Source: Bigandt_Photography/Getty Images

Global pharma AbbVie, genomics data company WuXi NextCODE, and life science startup company Genomics Medicine Ireland Ltd. (GMI) have entered a 15-year strategic alliance focused on population genomics research in Ireland that will focus on major chronic diseases within oncology, neuroscience and immunology.

The goal of the alliance is to recruit and sequence the genes of 45,000 volunteers in Ireland in order to create a broad data set to advance insights into the biological underpinnings of disease. AbbVie will then leverage the database created by the work of GMI for its drug development program and to create, as appropriate, related companion diagnostics.

Under the agreement GMI’s role in the project will be to partner with the Ireland’s leading researchers and physicians to recruit patient volunteers and conduct the sequencing. The company, founded in 2015, raised roughly $40 million in a Series A financing in late fall, capital that will allow the company to hire as many as 150 genomics researchers over the next three years.

"This partnership validates the vision that created Genomics Medicine Ireland,” said Daniel Crowley, acting CEO of GMI. “With AbbVie and WuXi NextCODE we will leverage our deep expertise in life sciences and the unique characteristics of the Irish population to discover critical insights into disease, disease progression, and therapeutic response. The resulting therapies to cure and prevent these diseases will benefit patients both here in Ireland and around the world."

WuXi NextCODE is an integrated contracts genomics company offering a range of services including study design, sequencing, secondary analysis, storage, and interpretation and scalable analytics to support projects in population health, precision medicine, and diagnostics development.

“We are very proud to be a part of delivering this path-breaking effort," said Hannes Smarason, COO of WuXi NextCODE. "As the leading infrastructure provider for population precision medicine projects around the world, we are committed to bringing WuXi NextCODE technology and expertise to this significant endeavor."