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Scripps Spinoff Cypher Genomics to Provide Clinical Annotation for 1K Healthy Elderly Genomes


Informatics startup Cypher Genomics has been tapped to clinically annotate 1,000 human genomes sequenced as part of a collaborative project between Complete Genomics and the Scripps Health System.

Complete Genomics said this week that it will sequence the whole human genomes of 1,000 individuals, aged 80 and older, who are participating in the Wellderly study, a research initiative by Scripps that’s exploring the genetics behind healthy aging.

The Scripps researchers hope to uncover the genetic basis for a healthy lifespan. Furthermore, the researchers said that older individuals are ideal controls for genetic studies of late-onset diseases such as various cancers, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.

In addition to sequencing the genomes, Complete Genomics will also work with Scripps to assemble the results into a Wellderly Genomic Reference Resource that would be a source of "universal controls" for disease research.

Cypher — born out of research efforts at the Scripps Translational Science Institute, Scripps Health, and the Scripps Research Institute — was founded to commercialize software for annotating genomic variant lists with clinically relevant pathway and disease prediction information.

The company focuses on interpreting and analyzing DNA sequence information for research, clinical, and forensic purposes, as well as for individual disease risk assessment.

Cypher said it uses proprietary computational tools to interrogate the molecular effects of sequence variation and to consolidate disease risk and phenotype expression information for individual genomic health profile reporting.

It is currently headed by Eric Topol, STSI's director and Nicholas Schork, director of STSI's bioinformatics and biostatistics division

Other Cypher team members include Ali Torkamani, an assistant professor and director of drug discovery at STSI, and Ashley Van Zeeland, a research associate at STSI.