In 2016, Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) was selected by the NIH to be the Data and Research Support Center for the biobank program now referred to as “All of Us” which aims to establish a national cohort of over 1 million volunteers for the study of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors affecting the health of the United States population. VUMC is one of the USA’s leading academic medical centers and is the largest comprehensive research, teaching and patient care health system in the state of Tennessee, its clinics receiving over 2 million patient visits per year. The Medical Center’s independent DNA resource known as BioVU®, is one of the world’s largest genomic repositories linked to electronic health information containing more than 250,000 DNA samples collected over the last decade, coupled with 2.8 million de-identified patient records.
In order to advance drug discovery and streamline interactions with pharmaceutical, biotechnology and the wider life sciences industry, VUMC has formed Nashville Biosciences, as a wholly owned subsidiary. The aim is that through partnering with Nashville Biosciences, pharmaceutical and other life science companies can gain access to and utilise VUMC’s genomics and health information technology resources such as BioVU® to accelerate the discovery and development of new drugs and therapies, which is in line with institutional research efforts. Intellectual resources include researchers led by Josh Denny, MD, MS, Vice President of Personalized Medicine, who have pioneered techniques such as PheWASTM that links specific genetic mutations to their key clinical characteristics.
“The creation of Nashville Biosciences will dramatically accelerate our ability to work with pharmaceutical and other partners to advance human health by accelerating rational drug and diagnostics development and use,” added Dan Roden, MD, VUMC’s Senior Vice President for Personalized Medicine.
“Partnering with the pharmaceutical and broader life sciences industry through Nashville Biosciences will enable VUMC to expand and support its mission of advancing translational an precision medicine,” said Leeland Ekstrom, PhD, Chief Operating Officer of Nashville Biosciences.