Illumina and Genetic Alliance said on Tuesday that they are launching a new program to expand patient access to whole-genome sequencing around the world.
The iHope Genetic Health program will help the nonprofit Genetic Alliance create a network of clinics and labs to provide diagnoses for patients with rare genetic diseases. Under the program, Genetic Alliance will also partner with pharmaceutical and technology companies and care providers to support patient access to data, therapeutic interventions, and ongoing supportive care.
At minimum, half of the program's efforts will go to helping patients outside the US and a third of its total support allocated to patients in Africa.
In an email, Genetic Health said Illumina is providing $120 million worth of sequencing instruments and consumables.
"While the cost of genome sequencing has dropped precipitously over the past decade, it remains cost-prohibitive for many," outgoing National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins said in a statement. "I applaud Genetic Alliance for launching this important initiative to improve access to this life-changing technology. Access to medicine should always be a right, not a privilege."
iHope Genetic Health will begin reviewing applications for clinical whole-genome sequencing programs in February 2022.