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Thermo Fisher Scientific, Qatar Genome Program Partner to Develop Microarray for Arab Populations

NEW YORK – Thermo Fisher Scientific said on Monday that it has teamed up with the Qatar Genome Program (QGP) to develop a microarray for pan-Arab populations.

Under the agreement, the two organizations will develop a custom Axiom genotyping array based on whole-genome sequencing data from 19 Arab countries. The array will interrogate about 800,000 variants and will be used for research into various diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, metabolic disease, autism, various genetic disorders, and cancer.

Financial and other terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

Thermo Fisher aims to make the array, which is intended to be an alternative to whole-genome sequencing, commercially available in late 2022.

"Our collaboration with Thermo Fisher will not only help us advance precision medicine in Qatar but also among people of Arab identity worldwide," Radja Badji, genome operations manager at QGP, said in a statement.

QGP, a member of the Qatar Foundation, and Thermo Fisher started collaborating in 2018 to develop another microarray, called Q-Chip, for the Qatari population. Under the new agreement, they will refine their algorithms and define variants for polygenic risk scores and pharmacogenomics.