Reporting Matt Roush
ANN ARBOR — As a key step toward providing patients with treatments based on their own DNA profiles, the University of Michigan and the Phoenix, Ariz.-based International Genomics Consortium have launched a new joint venture that will help usher in an age of personalized medicine.
Called Paradigm, the new nonprofit company brings together the expertise of the UM Health System and IGC, two leaders in using genetic information to understand and treat disease.
Beginning with cancer, and then extending into other disease groups, Paradigm will offer doctors and health care organizations anywhere access to whole gene and multi-gene sequencing and molecular diagnostics.
The company will also help support clinical trials at UMHS and other health systems.
Paradigm complements other DNA services offered by UMHS, including the MLabs reference laboratory, and the research-oriented DNA Sequencing Core. Paradigm is being formed under the Michigan Health Corporation, the part of UMHS that enables outside partnerships.
The company will be based in Ann Arbor, with additional operations at IGC headquarters in Phoenix.
“We’re thrilled to take this important step that allows us to harness the power of genetic information to guide patient therapy and improve outcomes,” says Jay Hess, M.D. chair of the Department of Pathology at the UM Medical School and a co-founder of Paradigm. “IGC has a proven track record of bringing molecular diagnostics to market, yet shares our nonprofit patient-focused vision.”
“Paradigm builds on our ever-increasing understanding of the interplay of multiple disease-causing genes and how this affects sensitivity to specific treatment regimens,” added Robert Penny, M.D., co-founder and CEO of Paradigm and IGC, which was formed by veteran genetic researchers and played a key role in compiling The Cancer Genome Atlas, a catalog of genes known to be involved in cancer. “We will bring our expertise to bear to create true personalized medicine options for clinicians and their patients.”
Initially, Paradigm will focus on offering services to oncologists and oncology groups, pathologists, academic medical centers and clinical trial groups studying personalized medicine regimens. Its first products will be especially of use in better tailoring treatments for cancer patients.
“Pursuing new, innovative channels for scientific collaboration is a priority and strength of the University of Michigan,” noted Ora Pescovitz, M.D., CEO of the UM Health System and UM executive vice president for medical affairs. “Paradigm is a terrific example of this effort and of how cutting-edge science will have an immediate benefit for patients.”