San Diego-based sequencing firm Illumina Inc. announced Monday that it has signed four separate biobanking deals with Vanderbilt University, University of Colorado at Denver, Partners HealthCare, and Montreal Heart Institute.
Under the agreements, the sample collections housed at each institution will be genotyped using Illumina’s machines. Genotyping these collections will help researchers gain insight into the underlying genetic factors that may contribute to heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, bipolar disorder, and Crohn’s disease, among many other diseases, according to an Illumina news release.
The partner organizations hope to combine the genomic information with electronic medical records and clinical information to accelerate their discoveries.
“These four personalized medicine programs represent progressive examples of how characterizing the genome using multiple genetic analysis solutions is significantly advancing the understanding of human biology,” said Christian Henry, Illumina executive vice president and chief commercial officer, in a statement. “These programs are at the forefront of translational research and the clinical application of genomic data.”
The news of Illumina’s new collaborations follows a busy start of the year for the sequencing firm.
The company recently announced the launch of a $100 million startup called GRAIL (as in the “holy grail”) dedicated to developing a blood test that could detect any kind of cancer at an early stage. Shortly after, Illumina announced a new product – the MiniSeq – a smaller and more affordable benchtop sequencer. Late last month, the company announced the acquisition of Conexio Genomics, an Australian firm that specializes in tissue typing used to match patients and donors for bone marrow or cord blood transplants.