Sidra to Help Qatar Grow as a Hub for Genetic Medicine

  Sidra to Help Qatar Grow as a Hub for Genetic Medicine

Illumina’s HiSeq X Ten Sequencing Technology to be Implemented for Population
                                   Studies

Business Wire

DOHA, Qatar & SAN DIEGO -- July 22, 2014

Sidra Medical and Research Center will house a first-of-its-kind facility, the
High-Throughput Genomics Center, to undertake population studies and genetic
sequencing for the MENA region. The facility will provide Qatar and the region
access to the latest technology to help advance genetic mapping projects. The
facility’s early phase of development is the creation of the Arab consensus
genome, which will allow for a deeper understanding of genetic variants that
contribute to the health of the Arab population.

Sidra, Illumina Inc. (NASDAQ: ILMN) and Alliance Global, Illumina’s partner in
the Middle East, will work together to implement next-generation sequencing
technologies at Sidra’s new High-Throughput Genomics Center, set to ramp up
operations over the next year. The initial focus of the facility will cater
primarily to high-end applications, including human whole genome sequencing
for rare genetic diseases and population studies using Illumina’s
ultra-high-throughput HiSeq X Ten Sequencing System. Genome sequencing and
population studies are an exciting new field of research, enabling scientists
to create truly personalized care based on an individual’s own genetic makeup.
It will also help improve the speed and accuracy of diagnosis for many
diseases.

“Implementing genomic medicine in and around Qatar requires an Arab reference
genome set that will provide an in-depth knowledge of genetic variations in
the population group. The new level of sequence-based knowledge of genetic
variation will allow us to implement genomic medicine systematically and on a
large scale. This will help Sidra to lead the way in personalizing medical
treatment and delivering the highest level of care to women and children. What
we are trying to achieve is a forward looking research and healthcare model
that will also benefit future generations,” said Sidra’s Chief Research
Officer Dr. Francesco Marincola.

Sidra will use insights gained from understanding the population genome to
improve patient outcomes, by offering a more rapid and comprehensive
diagnostic solution.

“Many of the 3,500 or so genetic diseases are known to manifest symptoms
within the first month of a child’s life and targeted tests will enable
biomedical markers to be identified earlier. For example, testing women for
the BRCA gene mutation, which is linked to a higher risk of developing breast
cancer, can lead to early diagnosis and treatment, increasing the chances of
survival,” continued Dr. Marincola.

Sidra’s High-Throughput Genomics Center will deliver leading research programs
that align with the Qatar National Research Strategy, prioritizing
translational research that will bring the latest scientific discovery to the
bedside.

“We are very excited to be part of this landmark initiative in Qatar. Sidra’s
High-Throughput Genomics Center, powered by Illumina sequencing technology,
has the opportunity to become a genomics center of excellence in the Middle
East. Our technology will help drive a sequencing program on a national
population scale with the goal of creating actionable information to improve
the human condition,” said Rick Klausner, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of
Illumina.

Sidra aims to harness the transformational impact of genomic medicine by
contributing to the genome project announced by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint
Nasser at the WISH conference in December 2013. It will begin by testing
select groups of participants in the fall.

About Sidra Medical and Research Center

Sidra Medical and Research Center, currently under construction in Doha,
Qatar, will be a groundbreaking hospital, research and education institution,
focusing on the health and wellbeing of women and children regionally and
globally. Sidra will be a fully digital facility, incorporating the most
advanced information technology applications in clinical, research and
business functions. Sidra will initially have 400 beds with infrastructure to
enable expansion to 550 beds in a subsequent phase.

Sidra represents the vision of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, who
serves as its Chairperson. The high-tech facility will not only provide
world-class patient care but will also help build Qatar's scientific expertise
and resources. Sidra will be funded by a US$7.9 billion endowment from Qatar
Foundation, one of the largest endowments of its kind in the world.

Sidra is part of a dynamic research and education environment in Qatar that
includes leading international institutions, such as Sidra’s academic partner
Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar. Through strong partnerships with
leading institutions around the world, Sidra is creating an intellectual
ecosystem to help advance scientific discovery through investment in medical
research.

Sidra will have a unique working structure with inter-professional
collaboration at the heart, providing the best holistic care for patients and
an unparalleled learning environment for its medical professionals. Sidra will
combine the best in design, technology, operations and practices from medical
centers around the world – to offer its employees an environment that is at
once familiar and extraordinary.

About Illumina

Illumina (www.illumina.com) is a leading developer, manufacturer, and marketer
of life science tools and integrated systems for the analysis of genetic
variation and function. We provide innovative sequencing and array-based
solutions for genotyping, copy number variation analysis, methylation studies,
gene expression profiling, and low-multiplex analysis of DNA, RNA, and
protein. We also provide tools and services that are fueling advances in
consumer genomics and diagnostics. Our technology and products accelerate
genetic analysis research and its application, paving the way for molecular
medicine and ultimately transforming healthcare.

Contact:

Sidra (Doha, Qatar (EDT +7 hours))
Anya Kotova, +974 6693 4995
akotova@sidra.org
or
Illumina
Eric Endicott, 858-882-6822
pr@illumina.com
 
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