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Gilead and Verily team up to map inflammatory diseases

Computational analysis could provide deeper understanding of disease

Gilead

Gilead’s recent focus has been on expanding into cell and gene therapy, but it also has ambitions to be a player in the huge inflammatory disease markets of rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and lupus-related diseases.

Today it announced a deal with Google’s life science and healthcare division Verily to identify and better understand the immunological basis of these three common and serious inflammatory diseases.

Lupus in particular is currently without treatment that can adequately control the disease, and Gilead has its candidate filgotinib (co-developed with Galapagos) in phase II.

The partnership will be the first large-scale deployment of Immunoscape, Verily’s platform for generating immunological data and insights. As such, the three-year deal could be a breakthrough for the health tech firm, which has promised much since it was launched in late 2015, but has yet to produce evidence of its ‘disruptive’ potential.

Gilead is understood to be paying Verily $90m to undertake the work - a sum it hopes it can recoup in greater long-term R&D productivity.

The Immunoscape platform combines immunogenomic phenotyping and advanced computational analysis techniques to profile the molecular characteristics of inflammatory diseases at high resolution. Gilead will provide clinical data and thousands of immune cell samples from participants before, during and after administration of novel drugs in the company’s ongoing phase II and phase III clinical studies.

“Inflammatory diseases are complex and heterogeneous, and despite treatment advances, most patients experience neither deep nor long-lasting remissions,” said John McHutchison, MD, Chief Scientific Officer, Head of Research and Development, Gilead. “We are excited to be collaborating with the scientists at Verily to accelerate our understanding of these common and serious inflammatory diseases. We hope to ultimately improve patient outcomes using this cutting-edge technology to identify molecular disease pathways that would otherwise remain undetected.”

“With the Immunoscape platform, we are seeking to develop a molecular map of inflammatory diseases that will help us identify and characterise disease mechanisms,” added Jessica Mega, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Verily. “This collaboration with Gilead is an incredible opportunity to learn much more about these immune-mediated conditions than ever before, and to hone in on potential paths to deliver more precise medicine to patients.”

All data and samples will be coded to protect patient privacy, and any findings of the analysis will include patient data only in aggregate.

The alliance with Gilead adds to Verily’s joint ventures with GSK, Galvani Bioelectronics and with Sanofi’s diabetes management platform Onduo.

Article by
Andrew McConaghie

1st May 2018

From: Research

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