The biotechnology company Biogen is expanding its $30 million collaboration with Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) (see Feb 2015 news). With funding from the ALS Association, Biogen and CUMC are launching a new project to map the genomes of 1,500 ALS patients who are currently being seen at ALS clinics. The study is unprecedented in that it will combine next generation sequencing with detailed clinical phenotyping of patients, in order to identify genes that shape clinical features of ALS. This collaborative project will provide the foundation for tailored therapies for ALS patients, where drug development and testing will be geared to subgroups of ALS patients based on shared genetic mutations. This three-year project is supported by $3.5 million raised by the ALS Association in last summer’s Ice Bucket Challenge.
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