Precision Health Research, the leading organization implementing Singapore’s national strategy for precision medicine, has partnered with genomic technology firm Illumina to conduct a large-scale population survey on Asian-related diseases.
The project, titled SG100K, will sequence and analyze the genomes of about 100,000 conspirators in Singapore of Chinese, Malay and Indian descent, representing about 80% of the population across Asia. It is expected to be the most comprehensive database of precision medicine in the region, generating an in-depth picture of Asian genomic diversity and Asian-specific diseases.
The three-year partnership will leverage Illumina’s capabilities in large-scale genomic sequencing to generate high-quality, accelerated genomic data. The partners will also use enterprise-class data exchange platforms to securely process and share anonymous data for biospecialization sequencing, and will develop AI approaches to genome analysis.
“Our access, management and storage of health data will be aligned with international best practices and safeguards,” added John Chambers, Principal Research Director of PRECISE and Principal Investigator of the SG100k project.
Many research and clinical partners, such as medical schools and health clusters, will also be involved in the project.
WHY IT MATTERS
The SG100k will allow Singaporeans to better understand key social, environmental, lifestyle and genetic factors associated with diseases related to their population, such as diabetes, hypertension and cancer. The project will also allow the adoption of data-based approaches to improving public health and patient outcomes.
In addition, the project will benefit local sequencing companies in Singapore by providing them with training and certification in the use of Illumina’s genomic technology platforms, enabling them to gain access to markets locally and abroad. NovogeneAIT Genomics Singapore, a local next-generation sequencing service provider, was hired by Illumina to perform the genome sequencing of the target participants in the SG100k project.
THE BIGGER TREND
Singapore’s Ministry of Health sees precision medicine as an approach to addressing health challenges. The country’s National Research Foundation, which funds PRECISE, has also identified precision medicine as a strategic goal of its 2025 plan for research, innovation and enterprise 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 build Australia’s largest genome data set – targeting around 14,000 genomes – to improve the diagnosis of rare genetic diseases.
Together, PRECISE and Illumina will work to develop the biomedical technology industry in Singapore by creating personalized data analysis capabilities, creating a large-scale genomic data infrastructure and creating new career opportunities in support of Singapore’s National Precision Medicine Program. “Said Illumina CEO Susan Toussaint.
She also sees the project as a breakthrough [that] will serve as an important catalyst for the growth of precision medicine opportunities throughout Southeast Asia. “
PRECISE CEO Patrick Tan also noted that their partnership with Illumina is “a testament to our shared ambitions and [a] a shared vision to improve patient outcomes and the sound health of Singapore’s population by adopting genomics and data-based approaches to Asian-related diseases.