GSK and Sanofi join FinnGen study

GSK and Sanofi have joined the FinnGen study, a large public-private partnership aiming to collect and analyse genome and health data from 500 000 Finns and thereby generate novel medically and therapeutically relevant insights.

2019.01.21 | Annabel Darby

FinnGen logo

The FinnGen study, launched in autumn 2017, is a broad academic-industrial collaboration between the Finnish biobanks and their respective Universities, University Hospitals, the Institute of Health and Welfare (THL), the Finnish Red Cross Blood Service and now nine international pharmaceutical companies. The study is funded by the industrial partners and Business Finland (the Finnish innovation funding, trade, investment, and travel promotion organisation).FinnGen, which invovles researchers from the Nordic EMBL Partnership's Finnish node FIMM, aims to produce comprehensive genome variant data of 500 000 biobank participants, representing one of the largest studies of this type.

The genome data is combined with health data originating from multiple national health registries. Data from these registries provide longitudinal, life time follow-up data from each Finnish resident.This unique data combination allows the FinnGen research team to identify correlations between genetic factors and health outcomes such as disease susceptibility or effectiveness of drug treatments in the Finnish founder population. The study has a huge potential to serve medicine initiatives and enrich drug discovery programs by enhancing drug target identification and prioritisation.During the first year, FinnGen has already delivered genotype and health data from 102 000 Finns. The amount of data will increase throughout the project, with 40 - 50 000 individuals added every six months.

As envisioned, FinnGen has also given a strong boost to the Finnish biobank network with more than 108 000 new samples collected, 30 000 of which are included in the current data freeze. Patient samples are of utmost importance for the study and there are, for example, more than 15 000 cancer patients and more than 30 000 patients with a cardio-metabolic diagnosis among this sample reservoir.Thanks to the unique cooperation model, immense potential of the Finnish research environment for genetic studies and the favorable progress of the study during the first year, FinnGen has been found as an attractive opportunity by many pharmaceutical companies.

Negotiations with two new company partners, Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), have now been completed and they have decided to join FinnGen. Their partnership complements the research experience and interests of the current partners and brings additional funding that can be used to expand FinnGen research deliverables.

Read the full article on the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) website:"GSK and Sanofi join FinnGen, a large scale genome study of the Finnish population"

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