GSK, Genomics PLC collaborate on polygenic risk score use for clinical trials

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Genomics PLC and biopharmaceutical firm GSK have established a collaboration aimed at assessing the potential for using polygenic risk scores (PRS) in clinical trials, with the ultimate goal of gaining an improved understanding of disease risk and optimizing trial design.

Genomics PLC, a University of Oxford spinout founded in 2014, develops PRS-powered technologies and approaches, including algorithms and extensive databases designed for a better understanding of the genetic components of and contributors to diseases.

In a statement, the companies said they will explore several applications for Genomics' suite of PRS-powered tools, including the potential to reduce the number of trial participants, shortening study timescales, and improving the outcomes of both proof-of-concept and pivotal trials.

"Genomics plc is leading in both the development and real-world application of PRS-based approaches, opening up new frontiers in genomic medicine,” Robert Scott, vice president of Human Genetics and Genomics at GSK, said. "At GSK, we have demonstrated the opportunity for genetics to guide drug discovery and development; I look forward to working with Genomics plc to further explore the potential for PRS to support clinical trial design."

Genetic variants play a key role in disease risk, progression, and responses to treatment. All of the genetic variants that play a role in susceptibility to a disease can be captured as a single numeric score, i.e., the PRS.

The firms say that using PRS-based methods for supporting patient selection for trials may have a positive impact by reducing the number of patients recruited and shortening the duration of trials. Targeted PRS-informed approaches in selecting participants could result in more efficient use of time and cost in drug development.

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