BOSTON, Oct. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Claritas Genomics, together with partners Life Technologies (LIFE) and Lockheed Martin (LMT), announced today that the Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded Claritas a $9 million contract for exome sequencing of Veteran samples, including those from the Million Veteran Program (MVP) over the next 12 months. The project is one of the largest sequencing initiatives ever undertaken in the U.S.
Claritas Genomics is supported by Life Technologies and its Ion Proton™ sequencing technology, Alvarez and Associates, which is providing technical support and Lockheed Martin, which is applying its expertise in data security to manage the large amounts of data that will be generated.
Cambridge-based Claritas Genomics is a clinical diagnostics laboratory that provides genetic testing for hospitals and researchers with a focus on pediatric medicine. The company was spun out of Boston Children's Hospital in February and incorporates the expertise, assets, personnel and more than 100 genetic tests, including many specialized diagnostics developed at the hospital. In the nine months since its spin-off it has quickly established itself as a leading resource for large-scale sequencing projects like MVP.
"Claritas Genomics is privileged to be part of this historic project and honored to have a role in helping our Veterans and their families," said Dr. Patrice Milos, Chief Executive Officer of Claritas Genomics. "We know firsthand from our work in pediatrics the power of large datasets to uncover the genetic mechanisms of disease. What's unique about MVP is that we'll produce a massive dataset at a fraction of the time and cost it would have required even a year ago, and that's a direct result of the speed, simplicity and affordability of Ion Torrent's sequencing technology."
"Claritas is a terrific example of how Ion Torrent's semi-conductor based technology is changing what's possible in sequencing," said Life Technologies' Head of Genetic and Medical Sciences, Ronnie Andrews, who worked with Claritas Genomics and Life's Enterprise Solutions Group to build a population-scale genetic analysis solution. "The speed at which Claritas has been able to bring up a high quality sequencing center is indicative of their operational excellence and the flexibility of the Life sequencing solutions. Less than a year after opening and they've been selected to champion one of the largest exome sequencing projects in the U.S. That's the kind of operational leverage the Life sequencing solutions with the Ion Proton™ Sequencer, Ion AmpliSeq™ Exome Kit and Ion Reporter™ Software bring to sequencing."
"Lockheed Martin is excited to be part of one of the largest genomics projects in the nation," said Glenn Kurowski, Vice President of health and life sciences for Lockheed Martin's Information Systems & Global Solutions business. "Information security, data management, and analytics at-scale are vital to this project; we are thrilled to be enabling engineering and IT in those areas for our team and the VA. We look forward to helping the VA with their goals of finding better ways, through genomics, to prevent, detect and treat disease for our nation's Veterans."
"We are pleased to be part of this very important project," said Everett Alvarez, Jr., Chief Executive Officer at Alvarez & Associates. "As a U.S. Military Veteran, I am proud of the fact that my company is able to serve those individuals who were/are willing to sacrifice all in service to our country. I feel that this effort will greatly improve our ability to understand and better assist those Veterans in need as well as the future generations of Veterans."
The Ion AmpliSeq™ Exome Kit and Ion Proton™ Sequencer are For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.
About the VA Million Veteran Program
Launched in 2011, MVP is a landmark research effort aimed at better understanding how genes affect health. Up to a million Veterans are expected to enroll in the VA study over the next 5-6 years. Data and genetic samples collected through the study are stored securely and made available for studies by authorized researchers, with stringent safeguards in place to protect Veterans' private health information. MVP is now enrolling at 50 VA medical centers nationwide. The VA's central biorepository is equipped with a state-of -the-art robotic system for DNA extraction and storage and has recently been expanded to support up to 4 million samples. With more than 210,000 enrollees to date, MVP already far exceeds the enrollment numbers of any single VA study or research program in the past.
MVP provides researchers with a rich resource of genetic, health, lifestyle, and military-exposure data collected from questionnaires, medical records, and genetic analyses. By combining this information into a single database, MVP promises to advance knowledge about the complex links between genes and health.
Veterans' privacy and confidentiality are top priorities in MVP, as in all VA research.
For more information about MVP, visit www.research.va.gov/MVP
About Claritas Genomics
Claritas Genomics is a clinical genetic diagnostic testing company that combines the clinical expertise of the world's best pediatric specialists with next generation sequencing technology to inform and improve patient care. Claritas offers a full range of services that take the guesswork out of selecting molecular tests and support clinicians as they navigate the increasingly complex landscape of genetic diagnostics. Claritas's interpretive services are based on the most up to date and reliable findings and the Claritas reports are designed to clearly communicate complex genetic information to inform medical treatment. Originally Boston Children's Hospital's clinical molecular testing laboratory, Claritas was launched as an independent laboratory in February 2013.
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About Life Technologies
Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: LIFE) is a global biotechnology company that is committed to providing the most innovative products and services to leading customers in the fields of scientific research, genetic analysis and applied sciences. With a presence in more than 180 countries, the company's portfolio of 50,000 end-to-end solutions is secured by more than 5,000 patents and licenses that span the entire biological spectrum—scientific exploration, molecular diagnostics, 21st century forensics, regenerative medicine and agricultural research. Life Technologies has approximately 10,000 employees and had sales of $3.8 billion in 2012.
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About Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is engineering safe and efficient health care solutions for federal partners. The company safeguards crucial healthcare data; supports claims processing and disability examinations for millions of veterans; enables clinical research through cloud computing and data analytics; innovates with mobile solutions; and drives efficiency with intelligent application of information technologies. Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs about 116,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation's net sales for 2012 were $47.2 billion.
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About Boston Children's
Boston Children's Hospital is home to the world's largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries have benefited both children and adults since 1869. More than 1,100 scientists, including seven members of the National Academy of Sciences, 13 members of the Institute of Medicine and 14 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute comprise Boston Children's research community. Founded as a 20-bed hospital for children, Boston Children's today is a 395 bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent health care grounded in the values of excellence in patient care and sensitivity to the complex needs and diversity of children and families. Boston Children's is also the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. For more information about research and clinical innovation at Boston Children's, visit: http://vectorblog.org.
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