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October 17, 2017updated 24 Oct 2017 1:25pm

Genomics and Biogen partner to discover new multiple sclerosis treatments

UK-based company Genomics has entered a collaborative deal with US-based biotechnology firm Biogen to discover new treatments for multiple sclerosis (MS).

Financial terms of the deal remain undisclosed.

Genomics focuses on the use of human genetic information to enhance all aspects of drug development.

MS is a debilitating disease, in which the insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged.

The damage affects the ability of parts of the nervous system to communicate, thereby resulting in a wide range of signs and symptoms, including physical, mental and sometimes psychiatric problems.

Biogen Centres of Excellence, Research and Early Development vice-president Dr Sally John said: “It is becoming clear that incorporating human genetic evidence can be extremely valuable in early drug development research.

“We are excited about our partnership with Genomics; they are world leaders in the analysis of genomic data.”

Under the partnership, Genomics will deploy its platform and expertise to evaluate the genetic support for early stage Biogen MS drug targets and to discover new targets.

“It is becoming clear that incorporating human genetic evidence can be extremely valuable in early drug development research.”

The company applies in-house analytical tools and combines statistics and machine learning to obtain major biological insights that can underpin successful drug development.

Genomics’ integrated platform quantifies the effects of more than seven million genetic variants on more than 1,000 different human phenotypes.

The company’s database is based on studies of more than 4.5 million participants.

Genomics founder and chief executive officer Peter Donnelly said: “The combination of big data analytics with the growing volumes of human genetic data offers the potential to transform aspects of drug development.”

Image: Photomicrograph of a demyelinating multiple sclerosis-lesion. Photo: courtesy of Marvin 101 via Wikipedia.

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