Date: 2018-01-08

Type of information: Collaboration agreement

Compound: genetic exome sequence data

Company: GSK (UK) Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (USA - NY) UK Biobank (UK) IBM Watson Health (USA) Abbvie (USA - IL) Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (USA - MA) AstraZEneca (UK) Biogen (USA - MA) Pfizer (USA - NY)

Therapeutic area: Technology - Services

Type agreement: collaboration - research

Action mechanism:



  • • On March 22, 2017, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals announced a major research initiative among the Regeneron Genetics Center, U.K. Biobank and GSK to generate genetic sequence data from the 500,000 volunteer participants in the U.K. Biobank resource. The initiative will enable researchers to gain valuable insights to support advances in the development of new medicines for a wide range of serious and life threatening diseases. Regeneron Genetics Center (RGC) and GSK have committed an initial investment to enable the sequencing of the first 50,000 samples, to be completed before the end of 2017.
  • Sequencing of U.K. Biobank's samples will be performed at the RGC facility, one of the world's largest human genetics sequencing centers. Sequencing of the full 500,000 samples in U.K. Biobank is expected to take three to five years. Consistent with the founding principles of U.K. Biobank, these sequence data will be incorporated back into U.K. Biobank's resource following a standard exclusivity period for GSK and Regeneron (9 months for the initial phase) and made openly available to the broader scientific community. Research findings will also be submitted for publication in peer-reviewed journals.
  • The RGC has previously sequenced DNA samples from more than 150,000 individuals and is now sequencing at a rate exceeding 150,000 individuals per year. The center has successfully applied large-scale human genetics to discover new drug targets and validate existing development programs, and has collaborated with more than 35 institutions around the world.

Financial terms:

  • Abbvie, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, AstraZeneca, Biogen and Pfizer  will each commit $10 million to enable a dramatic acceleration of sequencing timelines, and additional companies are considering joining the consortium.

Latest news:

  • • On January 8, 2018, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, along with  AbbVie, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, AstraZeneca, Biogen and Pfizer, announced the formation of a major 'pre-competitive' consortium to fund the generation of genetic exome sequence data from the 500,000 volunteer participants who make up the UK Biobank health resource. Regeneron will conduct the sequencing effort. The sequencing data will be paired with detailed, de-identified medical and health records within the UK Biobank resource, including enhanced measures such as brain, heart and body imaging, to create an unparalleled resource for linking human genetic variations to human biology and disease.
  • It was originally planned that sequencing of all 500,000 samples in the UK Biobank would be completed by 2022, with the first 50,000 people sequenced during 2017 with funding from Regeneron and GSK. Now, by engaging several leading Life Sciences companies to form this new consortium, it will be possible to complete the exome sequencing of all 500,000 participants by the end of 2019, with all data made broadly available by UK Biobank to researchers by the end of 2020.
  • This consortium effort thus greatly accelerates delivery to the global scientific community of the largest 'big data' resource linking human sequence data to other health-related information. Sequencing of UK Biobank's samples will continue to be performed at the Regeneron Genetics Center (RGC) facility, one of the world's largest and most sophisticated human genetics sequencing centers.
  • Consortium members will have a limited period of exclusive access to the sequencing data, before the data will be made available to other health researchers by UK Biobank. Consortium members have committed to make all significant research findings public.

Is general: Yes