Illumina and healthcare investment management company Deerfield Management have signed a five-year contract cooperation to use genomics and artificial intelligence (AI) to discover and develop new treatments for diseases with unmet medical needs.

Using genomic tools and genetic knowledge, the alliance will select programs with an increased probability of success to reduce research and development costs.

This genetically guided approach will also help speed up the approval of new treatments.

As part of the collaboration, Deerfield’s ability to bridge the gap in the development of translational drugs and target therapies through preclinical development will be combined with the generation of genomic data and experience in interpreting the Illumina AI-driven genome.

Under the deal, the companies will use Illumina’s genetically managed target detection platform, built with its related analyzes and AI-driven genome interpretation solutions, to detect therapeutic targets.

In addition, Deerfield will offer its in-depth translational science capabilities to produce genetically validated drug candidates up to the research stage.

Illumina Chief Technology Officer Alex Aravanis said: “The next generation of drug discovery will be driven by advances in human genetics, functional genomics and data science.

“At Illumina, we have the ability to deeply understand the biology of the disease by generating and interpreting genetic data on a huge scale.

“With Deerfield’s expertise in early-stage drug development, we expect to identify and develop new goals faster and at lower R&D costs, ultimately helping more patients gain access to potential life-changing therapies. “

In January this year, Illumina signed a multi-year deal with Vanderbilt University Medical Center subsidiary Nashville Biosciences to accelerate the development of large-scale genomics therapy.

The Alliance also intends to build a clinical and genomic resource.

Researchers will use next-generation Illumina sequencing platforms to find links to diseases and intervention targets by evaluating data obtained from the VUMC biobank on human DNA samples.

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