GenomeAsia 100K, a project that seeks to peformm whole genome sequencing on 100,000 people in South Asia, and funded by an alliance of for-profit companies and academia, has announced that Bangalore-based MedGenome will contribute $10 million to become a founding member.
“This is the only large population sequencing initiative that is a consortium of for-profit companies and academia,” said Founder and CEO, MedGenome, Sam Santhosh. “Combining academic rigor with the aggressive timelines and execution focus of for-profit companies will ensure the success of this consortium.”
MedGenome operates the largest privately owned Next Generation Sequencing lab in India, a country whose large population and thousands of distinct ethnic groups with a high level of genetic homogeneity provides a valuable environment for genomics research, reports FierceMedicalDevices.
Next generation sequencing is often referred to as massively parallel sequencing, which means that millions of small fragments of DNA can be sequenced at the same time, creating a massive pool of data. This pool of data can reach gigabytes in size, which is the equivalent of 1 billion base pairs of DNA. In comparison, previous methods could sequence one DNA fragment at a time, generating only 1000 base pairs of DNA in a single reaction.
According to the company’s website, MedGenome has had $24 million in venture financing from Sequoia Capital, Papillon Capital and Emerge Ventures.
“Nearly a quarter of the world’s population live in South Asia whose genetics we are only now beginning to characterize,” said MedGenome Chief of Global Products and Services Dr. Kartik Kumaramangalam in a statement. GenomeAsia 100K “has a unique opportunity to make an impact not just to South Asians but to healthy living globally.”