Illumina, Inc. (NASDAQ:ILMN) today announced the launch of the iHope Network, a consortium of member institutions who have committed to providing clinical whole genome sequencing (cWGS) to underserved families. Today, the iHope Network consists of clinical laboratory members: Illumina, Genome.One, GeneDx, HudsonAlpha and their affiliate healthcare partners.
Through whole-genome sequencing – the process of determining the genetic code or instructions in the cells within a person’s body – the iHope Network and their respective clinical partners strive to end years-long diagnostic odysseys. These odysseys average seven years in length and include multiple inconclusive tests, surgeries and procedures, many of which do not result in answers or treatment options for these children and their families.
The iHope Network members have committed to a minimum philanthropic donation of 10 whole genome tests per year (10 patients). Additionally, iHope Network organizations have agreed to donate the variants identified through iHope to public databases, like Clinvar, which are freely accessible, public archives of reports of the relationships among human variations and their related symptoms or diseases. By doing so, the public wealth of knowledge will continue to grow and provide benefit to many more patients who depend on the precision of genomic medicine.
With precision medicine and large-scale genomic initiatives being launched across the globe, genomics is reaching an inflection point in public awareness. The iHope program aims to build on that public awareness by demonstrating how next-generation sequencing can create a significant impact – by helping undiagnosed patients and their families find long sought-after answers.
“We are delighted to become a participating partner of Illumina’s iHope Network” said Jane Juusola, PhD, FACMG, Director of the Clinical Genomics Program, GeneDx. “As a laboratory founded to address the needs of patients diagnosed with rare genetic diseases, the very principle of the iHope program aligns with our founding mission. Through our donation of 10 whole-genome sequencing tests, we hope to bring closure to the diagnostic odysseys for children with undiagnosed rare diseases.”
“We’ve seen firsthand how a diagnosis can help families get a clearer understanding of the journey ahead,” said Marcel Dinger, CEO of Genome.One, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research. “We’re very pleased to be part of the iHope Network that will help people who are currently unable to access clinical whole-genome sequencing and help to raise awareness about the value of WGS for rare and genetic disease.”
“The evidence is clear that genomic medicine can directly benefit patients. And there are millions of patients who need whole-genome sequencing today, and who cannot afford it,” said Howard J. Jacob, Ph.D., Executive Vice President for Genomic Medicine and Chief Genomic Medicine Officer, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. “The more people who are helped through this initiative, the better the likelihood whole-genome sequencing will be integrated into clinical practice around the globe. We are proud to join the iHope Network and help save lives.”
The ultimate goal of the iHope Network is to increase awareness and adoption of cWGS and demonstrate to the community that clinical whole genomes are a needed resource for all pediatric patients facing rare and undiagnosed diseases. An iHope Network Summit will take place later this year. To learn more about the program or to become part of the iHope Network, please visit: www.illumina.com/ihope.
GeneDx is a world leader in Genomics with an acknowledged expertise in rare and ultra rare genetic disorders, as well as one of the broadest menus of sequencing services available among commercial laboratories. GeneDx provides testing to patients and their families in more than 55 countries. GeneDx is a business unit of BioReference Laboratories, a wholly owned subsidiary of OPKO Health, Inc. To learn more, please visit www.genedx.com.
About Genome.One and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research
Genome.One (www.genome.one) is a pioneering health information company providing genetic answers to life’s biggest health questions through clinical Whole Genome Sequencing. Genome.One aims to enhance the lives of patients, families and communities across the world. Genome.One is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, Australia. Garvan’s mission is to make significant contributions to medical science that will change the directions of science and medicine and have major impacts on human health.
HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a nonprofit institute dedicated to innovating in the field of genomic technology and sciences across a spectrum of biological challenges. Opened in 2008, its mission is four-fold: sparking scientific discoveries that can impact human health and well-being; bringing genomic medicine into clinical care; fostering life sciences entrepreneurship and business growth; and encouraging the creation of a genomics-literate workforce and society. The HudsonAlpha biotechnology campus consists of 152 acres nestled within Cummings Research Park, the nation’s second largest research park. Designed to be a hothouse of biotech economic development, HudsonAlpha’s state-of-the-art facilities co-locate nonprofit scientific researchers with entrepreneurs and educators. The relationships formed on the HudsonAlpha campus encourage collaborations that produce advances in medicine and agriculture. Under the leadership of Dr. Richard M. Myers, a key collaborator on the Human Genome Project, HudsonAlpha has become a national and international leader in genetics and genomics research and biotech education, and includes more than 30 diverse biotech companies on campus. To learn more about HudsonAlpha, visit: http://hudsonalpha.org/.
About Illumina, Inc.
Illumina is improving human health by unlocking the power of the genome. Our focus on innovation has established us as the global leader in DNA sequencing and array-based technologies, serving customers in the research, clinical and applied markets. Our products are used for applications in the life sciences, oncology, reproductive health, agriculture, and other emerging segments. To learn more, visit www.illumina.com and follow @illumina.