Clinical OMICS

SEP-OCT 2018

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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Page 11 of 51

10 Clinical OMICs September/October 2018 News as well as GSK's Open Targets collaboration with the European Bioinformatics Institute, the Wellcome Sanger Institute, Biogen, and Takeda Pharmaceutical. On May 3, Celgene joined Open Targets, whose partners have committed to systematically identify and prioritize targets for new treatments. The Altius Institute for Biomedical Sciences—an inde- pendent nonprofit research institute in Seattle to which the company has committed $95 million over its first five years—aims to combine automated functional genomics, genome engineering, advanced imaging, and integrative computation to define fundamental mechanisms regulating genes and cells and connect these with human physiology, pathology, and therapeutics. Discovering Targets GSK and 23andMe say they have yet to nail down all their early-stage programs. "23andMe significantly enhances and complements data derived from GSK's existing collaborations," GSK spokes- person Mary Ryne said. "The two companies will be initiat- ing several joint target discovery efforts based on 23andMe's analysis of their genetic database in the coming months." GSK says its partnership with 23andMe reflects a new R&D strategy focusing on science related to the immune system, use of genetic data, and investments in advanced technologies. Under Emma Walmsley, who became CEO last year, GSK has overhauled its R&D pipeline, terminating more than 30 clinical and preclinical programs deemed unlikely to gen- erate sufficient returns. The company now has more than 40 new molecular entities, with two HIV combination treat- ments—dolutegravir+lamivudine and cabotegravir+ripil- virine—and the oncology treatment GSK 2857916 expected to reach the market within the next two years. Richard Scheller, Ph.D., 23andMe's CSO and head of ther- apeutics, disclosed at the conference call that 23andMe's therapeutics division has "a number of drug discovery proj- ects that we've started in the areas of autoimmune, cancer immunotherapy, cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, liver disease, and so on." Scheller and Barron were colleagues at Genentech, where Barron was once SVP of development and chief medical officer. He later served as president of R&D at Calico, a Google-backed company launched in 2013, before joining GSK. Scheller served as Genentech's EVP of research and early development until 23andMe appointed him in 2015 to lead its therapeutics group. Since then, Scheller said, the group has launched several drug discovery programs and built out 23andMe's capabilities for finding drug targets, which the company has not disclosed. "We have a lot of information about immune phenotypes and immune dysregulated diseases, including psoriasis, osteoarthritis—way, way too many to even comment on. We also gain insights into the immune system from asking questions like, 'How do you respond to poison oak or a mosquito bite?' and so on," Scheller said. "One of the most interesting sets of observations that we've made has to do with potential cancer immunotherapy targets, when we find a certain group of patients have an increase in autoimmunity and a decrease in certain types of cancer, sug- gesting that these variants are in genes that may be good tar- gets for cancer immunotherapy," he added. "We have a vast amount of information on human variants and the response of the human immune system to these variants, and we look for- ward to working with GSK to exploit this data." "If privacy really concerns you, either you shouldn't sign up with consumer genomics companies at all, or you should only sign up in a context where they allow you to opt out of your data being shared." —Henry T. Greely, director, Center for Law and the Biosciences, Stanford University Hal Barron, M.D., CSO and president of R&D, GSK (continued from previous page)

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