NEW YORK – Genomics PLC said Monday that it is partnering with Our Future Health to generate polygenic risk scores for what is intended to become Britain's largest health research program.
The Oxford, UK-based company will create risk scores from DNA collected and genotyped from as many as 5 million volunteers in the program. Genomics PLC will also work with the not-for-profit Our Future Health organization to develop methods for providing feedback on disease risk to participants who choose to have their results returned.
Our Future Health is a public health project that will genotype and collect information from 5 million participants to obtain data to identify new polygenic risk scores for conditions including cancer, Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, diabetes, and stroke. A major focus will be crafting scores for identifying diseases like cancer and heart disease before they become symptomatic.
The program is supported by funding from multiple sources, including government-funded UK Research and Innovation, as well as companies such as Illumina, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Roche, GlaxoSmithKline, Janssen, AstraZeneca, and Amgen.
The partnership with Genomics PLC "has the potential to teach us more about PRS and its potential role in the prevention and screening of diseases," Andrew Roddam, CEO and joint chief investigator of Our Future Health, said in a statement.
"Too often we treat diseases only when patients start showing symptoms. Identifying these patients and getting them onto the right prevention, screening, and care pathways can help us to prevent disease or catch it early, allowing the [National Health Service] to improve outcomes and use resources more efficiently," said Genomics PLC Founder and CEO Peter Donnelly.
"We know that polygenic risk scores can be a huge help with this, but for them to be most effective we must learn about how best to use them — the best way to provide them to individuals and doctors, and how to integrate them into current practice most efficiently. This partnership with Our Future Health will enable us to do that," Donnelly added.