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Columbia Inks $30M Genomics Research Alliance with Biogen Idec

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Biogen Idec and Columbia University Medical Center today announced they have signed a $30 million agreement to establish a research facility to study the genetics of disease and find new drug targets.

The partners will build a sequencing and analysis facility and create a postdoctoral program at Columbia to support collaborative genetics studies. The agreement, they said, brings together genomics research conducted at Columbia with Biogen's expertise in discovering new medicines.

The deal will allow Biogen to look at the genomes of patients with unique diseases and patients showing unusual treatment responses. The drug-development firm said that as part of the collaboration, it will explore the connections among genes, pathways, and disease processes with the goal of discovering targets for new therapeutics.

"This collaboration marries the exceptional drug development expertise of Biogen with cutting-edge genomics expertise at Columbia University Medical Center," David Goldstein, director of Columbia's Institute for Genomic Medicine, said in a statement. "It will not only focus on target identification and validation at the early stages of drug development, but also facilitate genetically informed evaluation of treatments."

The new facility will have broad genetic research capabilities and the capacity to quickly complete whole-genome sequencing projects. It will allow for DNA sequencing in a range of diseases, focusing on those with significant unmet clinical needs, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, Biogen said.