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Washington University, Centene Form Personalized Medicine Research Collaboration

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and healthcare company Centene announced today that they have formed a personalized medicine collaboration to accelerate research into treatments for Alzheimer's disease, breast cancer, diabetes, and obesity.

Under the terms of the partnership, Centene will contribute up to $100 million over 10 years to fund research at the School of Medicine's Personalized Medicine Initiative, which aims to develop customized disease treatment and prevention for patients. Any products that arise from this collaboration will be commercialized through the ARCH Personalized Medicine Initiative, a joint venture between the School of Medicine and Centene, which is designed to accelerate the development and implementation of health solutions to the public.

The university will contribute its own research and biomedical capabilities — including technologies such as CRISPR — and scientists in the areas of the microbiome, immunomodulatory therapies, cancer genomics, neurodegeneration, cellular reprogramming, chemical biology, and informatics.

The university will also partially use the funds from the partnership to strengthen resources at more than a dozen centers and institutes at the School of Medicine, including the Edison Family Center for Genome Sciences & Systems Biology; the Andrew M. and Jane M. Bursky Center for Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Programs; Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine; the Elizabeth H. and James S. McDonnell III Genome Institute; the Institute for Informatics; and the Center of Regenerative Medicine.

Additional financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"We will be bringing together world-class resources and intellectual horsepower from every basic and clinical scientific discipline to urgently accelerate the timeline for developing therapies that are more precisely targeted, with aspirations to do so in the next five to seven years," David Perlmutter, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs at the School of Medicine, said in a statement. "I believe the most important advances that will evolve from the personalized medicine paradigm will come from harnessing genome engineering technologies to build better model systems of each human disease and utilizing deep genomic and clinical characterization to enable more effective and less expensive clinical trials."