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Roche and the Department of Health of Junta de Andalucía Collaborate in Spanish Medical Genome Project

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Roche and the Department of Health of Junta de Andalucía, Spain have signed an agreement for a cooperation in the Medical Genome Project (MGP), a research project created to analyze the genomes of people with rare diseases and identify the defective gene or genes causing the disease and its behavior.

Roche will contribute four million Euros to the MGP; in exchange, Roche reserves the right of first refusal over any possible license regarding discoveries made within the scope of the project.

The project, initiated by the Junta de Andalucía Department of Health, will begin in 2010 and extend to 2013.The research will take place in the Scientific and Technical Complex Cartuja 93 (Seville) and will be lead by Prof. Shomi Bhattacharya and Dr. Guillermo Antinolo, Associated Director and Director of the Andalusian Genetic Plan and Dr. Joaquín Dopazo, Associated Director of Bioinformatics in the Andalusian Program for Genetic Research and Genomics.

In the first phase, the research project will concentrate on defining the whole variability of human genes and will work with about 300 DNA samples, each of which can contain up to 26,000 different genes. Once the genetic variability has been defined, it will be compared with the genetic alterations observed in rare diseases to identify the causal gene or genes of thousands of these conditions.

In the final phase, the project will concentrate on the search for specific therapies for genetic-based diseases, in the field of personalized healthcare. The approach of personalized healthcare is to use new molecular insights and molecular diagnostic tests to better tailor medicines and better manage diseases. Roche aims at tailoring medicine as closely as possible to patients’ needs.

’Roche is committed to personalized healthcare based on the scientific advances that have been made over the last decade in regard to the genetic and molecular basis of diseases, as well as the response to drugs and their variability depending on each individual’, stated Juergen Schwiezer, CEO of the Roche Diagnostics Division.