France Plans Large-Scale, Population-Wide Genome Sequencing Program

France announced its plans to invest approximately $745 million to establish population-scale genome sequencing operations – potentially making genome sequencing a routine part of health care for patients with rare diseases.

The plan includes building a network of 12 sequencing and analysis centers that will process 235,000 genomes per year by 2020, and calls for sequencing 20,000 patients with rare diseases and their parents – totaling 60,000 of genomes analyzed each year. The remaining 175,000 genomes are projected to come from an estimated 50,000 patients with cancer, particularly those with metastatic and refractory tumors. This includes the sequencing of transcriptomes and exomes, messenger RNA molecules, and the DNA that encodes for proteins.

Its goal is to select the 12 sequencing sites by September 2016 and have three in place by the end of 2016, with the remaining centers to be added between 2017 and 2019. Two additional centers will be set up to analyze data and ensure consistency across the sequencing sites.

Source: FierceBiotech, June 27, 2016.