Singapore’s PRECISE partners with Illumina for a large-scale population health study

Precision Health Research, the lead entity implementing Singapore’s National Precision Medicine strategy, has partnered with genomics technology firm Illumina, for a large-scale population study of diseases relevant to Asians.

The project, titled SG100K, will sequence and analyze the genomes of some 100,000 participants from Singapore with Chinese, Malay and Indian backgrounds, who represent about 80% of the population of Asia. It is envisioned to be the most comprehensive precision medicine database in the region, generating deep insights into Asian genomic diversity and Asia-specific diseases.

The three-year partnership will leverage Illumina’s capabilities in large-scale genomic sequencing to generate high-quality genomic data at an accelerated rate. The partners will also use enterprise-grade data sharing platforms for the secure handling and anonymized data sharing of biological samples for sequencing, as well as developing AI approaches for genomic analysis.

“Our access, management and storage of health data will be benchmarked against international best practices and safeguards,” added John Chambers, PRECISE Chief Scientific Officer and Principal Investigator of the SG100k project.

Multiple clinical and research partners, such as medical schools and healthcare groups, will also participate in the project.

BECAUSE IT IS IMPORTANT

SG100k will enable Singaporeans to better understand key genetic, lifestyle, environmental and social factors related to diseases relevant to their population, such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer. The project will also enable the adoption of data-driven approaches to improve population health and patient outcomes.

Additionally, the project will benefit local sequencing companies in Singapore by providing them with training and certification in the use of Illumina’s genomics technology platforms, enabling them to access local and overseas markets. Illumina has contracted with NovogeneAIT Genomics Singapore, a local next-generation sequencing service provider, to perform genome sequencing for specific SG100k project participants.

THE BIGGEST TREND

The Singapore Ministry of Health has considered precision medicine as an approach to address its healthcare challenges. The country’s National Research Foundation, which funds PRECISE, has also identified precision medicine as a strategic goal of its Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2025 plan to transform and protect the health of Singaporeans.

In other related news, Google Cloud has partnered with the Garvan Institute for Medical Research in Sydney to create what could be Australia’s largest genome dataset, with the goal of processing around 14,000 genomes, to improve diagnosis of rare genetic disorders.

IN THE REGISTRY

“Together, PRECISE and Illumina will work to advance Singapore’s biomedical technology industry by building custom data analytics capabilities, establishing a large-scale genomics data infrastructure, and creating new career opportunities to support the Singapore National Precision Medicine Program,” said Susan Tousi, chief commercial officer of Illumina. .

She also sees the project as an “innovative study [that] will serve as an important catalyst for the growth of precision medicine capabilities throughout Southeast Asia.”

PRECISE CEO Patrick Tan also commented that their association with Illumina is a “testimony to our shared ambitions and [a] common vision to improve patient outcomes and future-proof the health of the Singaporean population by adopting genomics and data-driven approaches in diseases relevant to Asia.”

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