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Lundbeck partners with 23andMe on first-of-its-kind study

Psychiatry collaboration will combine data from genetics, cognitive tests and online surveys

23andMe genetic testing pharma research

Lundbeck is collaborating with online genetics firm 23andMe and California-based thinktank the Milken Institute on a first-of-its-kind study in psychiatry.

The US project will involve 25,000 patients and combine data from genetics, cognitive tests and online surveys to explore how genetics is related to major depressive disorder (MDD), bipolar depression and certain brain functions.

Anders Gersel Pedersen, executive VP, research and development at Lundbeck, said: "In order to identify new treatment hypotheses enabling us to develop better drugs for the treatment of MDD and bipolar depression, we are constantly seeking new knowledge about the underlying biology and its link to the clinical characteristics.

“To this end, we expect the study to provide detailed insights into the interaction of mood symptoms, cognitive processes and environmental factors, and to link these factors to genetic data. The latter will provide entry points into the biological processes underlying these diseases."

The study will explore how these disorders, and brain functions such as attention and decision-making, are related to genetics.

The partners are seeking to recruit a total of 25,000 adults (15,000 with MDD, 10,000 with Bipolar Depression) who will have their DNA tested and complete cognitive tests and surveys over nine months. To do so they’ll need a desktop or laptap as the study is not mobile-enabled, and they will also have to provide a saliva sample for DNA testing.

Lundbeck said it will be the first time these elements are combined to study these disorders. The pharma firm hopes the study’s results will reveal ways of how to ‘decompose’ patient populations’ heterogeneity to strengthen its future R&D efforts.

Meanwhile, for 23andMe the deal is its second big pharma agreement this year, following a May tie-up with Grünenthal on the genetics of pain that came shortly after the FDA changed its mind on 23andMe’s genetic testing kits.

That agreement also marked Grünenthal’s first foray into generating big data, and the German pharma firm hopes to use the study’s outcomes to identify starting points for the development of new medicines.

25th August 2017

From: Research

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