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Roche to Pump $6M into Andalusian Medical Genome Project

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Roche said today that it will collaborate with Spain's Department of Health of Junta de Andalucía on the Medical Genome Project, a research project created to study the genetic underpinnings of rare diseases.

Under the terms of the agreement, Roche will contribute €4 million ($5.98 million) to the MGP, and will receive right of first refusal of any possible license for discoveries made during the project.

In the first phase of the project, set to begin in 2010, the partners will focus on defining the whole variability of human genes by working with about 300 DNA samples, each containing as many as 26,000 different genes, Roche said.

The researchers will then compare this variability with genetic alterations observed in rare diseases to identify the causal gene or genes.

In the final phase of the project, researchers will search for specific therapies for genetic-based diseases.

The MGP, initiated by the Junta de Andalucía Department of Health, will extend to 2013, Roche said.

Research will take place in the scientific and technical complex Cartuja 93 in Seville and will be led by Shomi Bhattacharya and Guillermo Antiñolo, associated director and director of the Andalusian Genetic Plan; and Joaquín Dopazo, associated director of bioinformatics in the Andalusian Program for Genetic Research and Genomics.

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