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Personalis Licenses PharmGKB Database, Launches Genomic Services

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Personalis said after the close of the market Thursday that it has gained an exclusive license to commercialize the Pharmacogenomics Knowledge Base (PharmGKB) and has launched its genome services for researchers.

The Menlo Park, Calif.-based startup is focused on delivering medical interpretation of human genomes for research and, eventually, clinical applications. It was founded in 2011 by a team of researchers from Stanford University, including Russ Altman, Euan Ashley, Atul Butte, and Mike Snyder, and its CEO is John West, former CEO of Solexa, which was acquired by Illumina in 2007.

Stanford researchers developed and currently manage the PharmGKB database, which has received funding from the National Institutes of Health. The database links genetic variation with drug metabolism and adverse events and complements Personalis' existing manually curated database that links genetic variation to disease.

The firm's Accuracy and Content Enhanced (ACE) technology augments exome- and whole-genome sequencing by targeted capture of regions that are difficult to sequence, it said. The company also said that it has optimized sample prep and library construction methods.

"Based on feedback from our first customers, we are increasingly convinced that our emphasis on accuracy, both in sequencing and interpretation, is essential for medical applications," West said in a statement. "Personalis' approach to this challenge is unique and we look forward to working with customers worldwide."

The firm said that its genome services, which are available to institutionally-based researchers and are not offered directly to consumers, support "case-control, family-based, or proband-only genome studies of disease, pharmacogenomics and cancer. It also has a CLIA-certified lab but stated that its services are for research use only.