GATC Biotech announced its launch of a human genome sequencing service. GATC hopes to boost the move towards personalized medicine by sequencing up to 100 genomes by the end of 2010. They will meet this target by forming collaborative partnerships with world-class research institutes and pharmaceutical, pharmacogenomics and diagnostics companies.
The announcement, made at a press conference at BIO-Europe 2007, comes at a time when the US FDA has just recommended that clinicians obtain patients’ genetic profiles before prescribing warfarin. The FDA is promoting personalized medicine as part of its ‘Critical Path Initiative’ to encourage innovation in drug development.
Improved access to genomic data could transform the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, Professor Dr. Christof von Kalle from the German National Center for Tumor Diseases, told the press conference.
“By sequencing and comparing genomes obtained before and after the diagnosis of cancer, researchers can gain a better understanding of the genetic basis of cancer, particularly the role of the previously understudied non-coding regions. There is growing evidence implicating these areas, which comprise 98.5% of the human genome, in the onset and control of cancer.”
Peter Pohl, the CEO of GATC, who also spoke at the event, explained that his company will build the capacity and expertise to initiate and deliver this visionary, but tough, project. GATC has nearly two decades of DNA sequencing expertise, having sequenced close to 100 microbial genomes since 1990, and, uniquely in Europe, uses all four high throughput sequencing technologies.
The first human genome sequenced cost $3 billion; this cost has now fallen to about $5 million. GATC plans to bring down the cost of human genome sequencing further and to provide a clearer picture of the human genome by using next-generation sequencing and high-end bioinformatic technologies.