A vast tranche of new UK Biobank genetic data became available to health researchers on March 11, 2019, offering an unprecedented resource to enhance understanding of human biology and aid in therapeutic discovery. The exome sequence data of 50,000 UK Biobank participants was generated at the Regeneron Genetics Center through a collaboration among UK Biobank, Regeneron (US), and GSK (GlaxoSmithKline - UK) and are linked to detailed health records, imaging, and other health-related data. Regeneron is also leading a consortium of biopharma companies (including Abbvie, Alnylam, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Biogen, Pfizer, and Takeda) to complete exome sequencing of the remaining 450,000 UK Biobank participants by 2020. In addition, GSK has committed a £40 million (~$53 million) investment to initiatives, such as UK Biobank, that harness advances in genetic research in the development of new medicines. Consistent with the founding principles of UK Biobank, the first tranche of data has now been incorporated back into the UK Biobank resource for the global health research community to use. It follows a brief exclusive research period for Regeneron and GSK. Additional tranches of data will similarly be released over the next two years. All sequencing and analyses activities are undertaken on a de-identified basis, with the utmost consideration and respect for participant privacy and confidentiality principles. This major enhancement to UK Biobank would have been unimaginable when the study began recruiting participants in 2006, and makes it one of the most important studies of population health in the world.
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