DANVILLE - Geisinger Health System has announced a plan to collaborate with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. to study the genetic determinants of human disease.

During the initial five years, Geisinger plans to collect samples from more than 100,000 consented patient volunteers, while Regeneron, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Regeneron Genetics Center LLC, will perform sequencing and genotyping to generate de-identified genomic data, according to a press release from Geisinger.

The size and scope of the study are meant to allow great precision in identifying and validating the associations between genes and human disease, the press release said.

"For Geisinger, this relationship is about the potential to improve individualized patient care," said Dr. David H. Ledbetter, executive vice president and chief scientific officer of Geisinger Health System. "This collaboration has the potential to provide Geisinger with tools to transform our ability to foresee disease before the onset of symptoms, diagnose chronic and potentially fatal conditions before it's too late to intervene, and determine how best to optimize the health and well-being for each of our patients."

"Genetics has been at the core of our research efforts at Regeneron since its early days," said Dr. George D. Yancopoulos, chief scientific officer and president, Regeneron Laboratories. "In fact, our first FDA-approved therapy treats a rare genetic disorder, and the target of one of our product candidates in late stage development that acts to lower LDL cholesterol was identified using human genetics."

The collaboration will benefit from Geisinger's state of the art sample collection and storage capabilities, the MyCode™ biorepository, and extensive electronic medical records. Regeneron has built a team and an infrastructure to support sequencing and genotyping over the term of the collaboration, according to the press release. Regeneron intends to use its translational research and functional biology capabilities, including its VelociGene® technology, to validate observed human genetic associations.

"We are pleased to be embarking on this next generation human genetic sequencing project with Geisinger, a renowned integrated health care delivery system known for its innovation," said Dr. Leonard S. Schleifer, president and CEO of Regeneron.

"Research is a core part of Geisinger's mission, and there is no more important medical research being done today than in genomics," added Dr. Glenn D. Steele Jr., president and CEO of Geisinger Health System.

About Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

Regeneron is a leading science-based biopharmaceutical company based in Tarrytown, N.Y., that discovers, invents, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines for the treatment of serious medical conditions, according to the press release.

Regeneron markets medicines for eye diseases, colorectal cancer and a rare inflammatory condition, and has product candidates in development in other areas of high unmet medical need, including hypercholesterolemia, oncology, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and atopic dermatitis. For more information, go to www.regeneron.com.