VA Awards Contract to Personalis for Genome Analysis Project

Screen Shot 2013-03-12 at 10.00.29 AMThe United States Department of Veterans Affairs awarded a contract to research and diagnostic company Personalis for whole genome sequencing and analysis as part of the Million Veteran Program (MVP). The VA research program is building a large medical database in order to study how genes affect health. Veterans voluntarily participate in the project by providing blood samples and filling out surveys and health assessments.

Personalis will have access to samples from several VA sources to work with in addition those from MVP. The company said it plans to subcontract DNA sequencing and genome-scale genotyping to sequencing technology company Illumina.

MVP was formed a few years after 1000 Genomes, a separate global project that launched in 2008 and aimed to sequence the genes of at least 1000 people from all over the world. Researchers published results from their analysis of 1,092 genomes late last year. The VA research program was formed in 2011 and so far has more that 135,000 enrollees, more than any other VA study has ever seen. Both initiatives were formed with the knowledge that to be able to make sense of genetic data, researchers need rich databases in order to view the data within the context of a population.

“The VA’s MVP has the potential to be the largest and most important medical sequencing effort in the world. We are thrilled that the VA has chosen Personalis for the DNA sequencing and analysis on this project,” Personalis CEO John West said in a press release.

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