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University of Washington, Vanda Pharmaceuticals to Study COVID-19 Pharmacogenetics

NEW YORK – Vanda Pharmaceuticals announced Wednesday it has launched a collaboration with the University of Washington School of Medicine to study pharmacogenetics in patients with COVID-19.

The partners plan to collect whole-genome sequencing data from more than 1,000 patients with coronavirus infection and sequence the viral genomes to explore host susceptibility, clinical outcomes of whole-genome sequencing, host-virus interactions, and disease severity.

"The study has the potential to provide new insights into virus-host interactions that could lead to more effective public health strategies and the design and development of vaccines and therapeutics," Sandra Smieszek, head of genetics at Vanda, said in a statement. "With the vast amount of data we expect to collect, the team will aim to discern the factors associated with severity and other critical, clinical characteristics of the infected individuals."

Financial and other details of the collaboration were not disclosed.

The collaboration with UW's virology lab will be part of a larger program from Vanda, dubbed Calypso, to study the role of human genetic variation in SARS-CoV-2 infection and COVID-19 disease progression.

Vanda is a publicly traded pharmaceutical company based in Washington, DC. Its clinical development pipeline includes drugs for jet lag disorder, bipolar disorder, atopic dermatitis, and hematologic malignancies.

"We believe this collaboration will help answer critical questions and hopefully outcomes in the fight against COVID-19," Alex Greninger, assistant director of the virology division at the UW School of Medicine, added in a statement.

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