Genomic Discovery Alliance Announces Founding Members of Biopharmaceuticals: AbbVie, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Bayer and Merck

Alliance aims to accelerate therapeutic development and expand the diversity of genomic data Through inclusion of multiple samples from currently underrepresented ancestors

SAN DIEGO, July 18, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Illumina Inc. (NASDAQ: ILMN), a global leader in DNA sequencing and array-based technologies, in partnership with Nashville Biosciences, LLC, a leading clinical and genomics data company and wholly owned subsidiary of Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), today announced the five founding members of the Alliance for Genomic Discovery (AGD). The multi-year agreement aims to accelerate the development of therapies through large-scale genomics and the creation of a pre-eminent clinical genomics resource. Member organizations AbbVie, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Bayer and Merck will co-fund whole genome sequencing (WGS) of 250,000 samples and have access to the resulting data for use in drug discovery and therapeutic development.

“We are thrilled to welcome these esteemed companies as the founding cohort of the Alliance for Genomic Discovery,” said Joydeep Gosvami, chief financial officer and chief strategy and corporate development officer of Illumina. “Together, we aim to advance genomics- and multiomics-based methods to find therapeutic targets that are more viable in treating and curing disease, while improving the speed, likelihood of success and efficiency of the discovery and development process.”

The AGD supports a turnkey project that leverages Illumina next-generation sequencing and analysis platforms that include DRAGEN for fully annotated secondary analysis of Nirvana clinical variants and Illumina Connected Analytics for large-scale interpretation and cohort analysis, combined with VUMC’s longitudinal and structured clinical data. This powerful combination of tools and in-depth phenotypic and genotypic data will help identify disease associations and targets for intervention by analyzing WGS data derived from VUMC’s extensive high-quality biobank of over 250,000 unidentified human DNA samples and associated clinical data.

“Collaborations like the Alliance are key to answering pressing questions about human biology and disease, unlocking the potential for the discovery of more effective therapies and diagnostics,” he said Jeff BalserMD, PhD, president and CEO of VUMC and dean of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. “VUMC and Nashville Biosciences are honored to support our industry partners in this groundbreaking endeavor.”

With today’s announcement, deCODE genetics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Amgen, will sequence the remaining samples for the Alliance. In January 2023as the first phase of the AGD, Illumina and Nashville Biosciences announced a deal with Amgen for deCODE genetics to perform WGS on the first 35,000 VUMC samples, consisting primarily of DNA from individuals of African ancestry. The lack of diversity in genomic data has created a gap in scientific understanding of the genetic causes behind many diseases and has inhibited equitable access to precision health therapies. Through its collaborative work, the Alliance seeks to advance understanding of these disparities.

“Once completed, this dataset will serve as an incredible resource for the discovery of new therapies and drugs; we are thrilled to see this exciting initiative come to fruition,” he said Leeland EkstromCEO of Nashville Biosciences.

Use of Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, including expectations of lower costs related to storage and cost management of genomic data. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from any forward-looking statement include: (i) the challenges inherent in researching, developing and launching new technologies; (ii) our and our partners’ ability to implement new products, services and applications and to expand markets for genomics-related products and services; and (iii) the challenges associated with multiparty collaborations, including our dependence on the performance of such partners, along with other factors detailed in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our most recent filings on Forms 10-K and 10-Q, or in information disclosed in public conference calls, the date and time of which are released in advance. We undertake no obligation and do not intend to update these forward-looking statements, revise or confirm analysts’ expectations, or provide interim reports or performance updates for the current quarter.

About the Alliance for Genomic Discovery

Launched in 2022 by Illumina and Nashville Biosciences, the Alliance for Genomic Discovery is a multi-year effort to accelerate the development of therapeutics through large-scale genomics and create a preeminent clinical genomics resource. Pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industry member companies leverage Illumina next-generation sequencing (NGS) platforms to identify disease associations and targets for intervention by analyzing whole genome sequence data derived from Vanderbilt University BioVU of the medical center, an extensive, high-quality biobank of over 250,000 anonymized human DNA samples and associated longitudinal and structured clinical data. A major goal of the Alliance is to help narrow the diversity gap in genomic data and ultimately work toward a more equitable representation of ancestry in genetic research.

About Illumina

Illumina is improving human health by unlocking the power of the genome. In 2023, we celebrate 25 years of innovation, which have made us a global leader in DNA sequencing and array-based technologies, serving customers in the research, clinical and applied markets. Our products are used for applications in life sciences, oncology, reproductive health, agriculture and other emerging segments. To find out more, visit and connect with us on Chirping, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tick ​​tockAND Youtube.

About Nashville Biosciences

Nashville Biosciences, a wholly owned subsidiary of Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), was created to leverage the Medical Center’s vast genomic and bioinformatics resources for drug discovery and development and diagnostics. Exploiting Vanderbilt University innovation, Nashville Biosciences serves as the business interface between outside companies and the formidable research capabilities housed within VUMC, including BioVU, one of the world’s most comprehensive genetic databases linked to anonymous medical records with years of longitudinal clinical data. This unique resource is one of the largest and highest quality of its kind and provides the opportunity to lead research and development activity in biotechnology, pharmaceutical, diagnostics, medical device and other life science applications. For more information please visit nashville. bio.


Salli Schwartz
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David McAlpine
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SOURCE Illumina, Inc.

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