'Landmark' 15-year research alliance formed in Ireland for genome research

Abbvie joins start-up Genomics Medicine Ireland to examine potential genetic triggers for a series of major chronic diseases

'Landmark' 15-year research alliance formed in Ireland for genome research

File photo. Image: Ben Birchall / PA Wire/Press Association Images

A 15-year research partnership investigating therapies for chronic diseases based in Ireland has been announced.

Multinational pharamceutical research company Abbvie will be working with Irish start-up Genomics Medicine Ireland work with the US group to examine potential genetic triggers for a series of major chronic diseases in the areas of cancer, neurosciences and immunology.

The research involves mapping the genomes of 45,000 in order to develop drugs for future use. Financial terms of the research were not disclosed.

Currently, AbbVie employs more than 600 people in Ireland and investments of more than $130 million (€123 million) since 2013.  

"Genomics is transforming the way we understand some of the world's most devastating diseases and enabling the discovery of new approaches that have the potential to deliver much greater benefit to patients," said Jim Sullivan, Ph.D., vice president, pharmaceutical discovery, AbbVie. "This alliance is an important part of our research strategy and complements our significant footprint here in Ireland."

Daniel Crowley, acting CEO of GMI, commented: "With AbbVie and WuXi NextCODE, we will leverage our deep expertise in life sciences and the unique characteristics of the Irish population to discover critical insights into disease, disease progression, and therapeutic response. The resulting therapies to cure and prevent these diseases will benefit patients both here in Ireland and around the world."

The research is based off a similar project carried out by Icelandic company deCODE Genetics. The company has been collecting and analysing Icelandic genomes for 18 years.

Genome sequencing has allowed deCODE Genetics to begin data-mining information about how certain genes function and their relationship to a broad array of diseases. Past findings from such research included additional insights about gene variants associated with Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.