Biologics Discovery

Genomics-driven Drug Discovery at the Regeneron Genetics Center

Monday, February 5
11:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Location: 7AB

The Regeneron Genetics Center (RGC) was officially launched in early 2014 with a goal of advancing basic science around the world by providing valuable genetic information to researchers, physicians, and patients to ultimately help identify novel targets for Regeneron drug development. The RGC has used innovative sample biobanking, proprietary automated technology, advanced DNA sequencing, and state-of-the-art cloud computing to - in just over three years of sequencing - build one of the world’s most comprehensive genetics databases. The database currently contains the genetic information of well over 200,000 patient volunteers, many of which are paired with detailed de-identified medical records, and continues to grow rapidly.
Automated sample biobanking and sample preparation have allowed us to manage and process massive numbers of DNA samples with near perfect fidelity and achieve incredibly high levels of DNA sequencing efficiency. Well-engineered sample preparation platforms have allowed us to scale production more than 10-fold over the past three years without adding any additional infrastructure or headcount. While quickly expanding our efforts and improving our processes we have increased our data quality standards above traditional expectations while significantly cutting data production costs.
Building on Regeneron’s strengths in mouse genetics and genetics-driven drug discovery, the large amount of information that is generated at the RGC allows us to elucidate the genetic factors that cause or influence a vast range of human diseases and ultimately will make drug development faster and more precise. We are using our unique database and capabilities to build better-informed clinical trials, to validate our existing programs, and to identify new drug targets and therapeutic indications; several successful applications of this already exist and will be presented. Based on genetic information we have advanced programs into human studies, started programs in early stage clinical development, and we have identified numerous new drug candidates for possible development programs.

John Overton

Senior Director, Head of Sequencing and Lab Operations
Regeneron Genetics Center

John Overton is a Senior Director and the Head of Sequencing and Lab Operations in the Regeneron Genetics Center at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals in Tarrytown, NY. John’s role is to oversee the operation of a world-class next-generation sequencing facility that uses novel automated approaches to rapidly and efficiently process human DNA samples for sequencing. The facility is capable of processing hundreds of thousands of samples per year and has sequenced the DNA of over 200,000 patient volunteers since initiating sequencing in July of 2014. Prior to joining Regeneron in 2013, John completed his post-doctoral training at Yale University in the laboratory of Dr. Richard Lifton and was the Associate Director of Sequencing at the Yale Center for Genome Analysis. He earned his Ph.D. in 2010 at Columbia University (molecular genetics) and B.S. in 2003 from Cornell University (biology and nutrition).

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