Affymetrix, Inc. (Nasdaq:AFFX) announced today that the Institute for Pharmacogenomics and Individualized Therapy (IPIT) at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill is using the company’s DMET™ Plus biomarker panel to expand the Pharmacogenetics for Every Nation Initiative (PGENI). The PGENI’s mission is to help developing countries use genetic information to improve their drug dosing decision-making process.
Doctors understand that drug response and drug-related toxicity vary widely among patients suffering from common diseases. A “one-dose-fits-all” strategy is not ideal or cost-effective for most patients, particularly in developing countries. The cost of individual genetic testing will be prohibitive in these countries for some time, so the PGENI’s strategy is to integrate pharmacogenomics into public health decision making without placing an extra burden on sparse healthcare funds and technology infrastructure.
The data gathered by PGENI researchers will help them analyze populations in the developing world for their response to most commonly used medications. The program will initially focus on Jordan, Mexico, India, China, Brazil, Ghana, and South Africa, and the university eventually plans to expand to more than 100 countries.
“By using the DMET panel, we can genotype the largest and most comprehensive set of key functional drug metabolism alleles within a single panel,” said Dr. Howard McLeod, principle investigator and leader of PGENI. “To accomplish this with other technologies would be inefficient, very labor intensive, require multiple techniques, and would produce compromised data quality.”
The DMET Plus biomarker panel contains markers in all FDA-validated genes and covers more than 90 percent of the current ADME Core markers as defined by the PharmaADME group. It offers 1,936 high-value, biologically relevant markers in 225 drug metabolism enzyme, transporter, and transferase genes. Together these features make the Affymetrix DMET panel the most comprehensive one targeting all functional variants within drug metabolism genes.
“Dr. McLeod is one of the foremost experts in pharmacogenomics. He has shown how DMET Plus products can be used to make genotype-related dosing recommendations and the potential power of this technology to be integrated into clinical practice,” said Kevin King, president and CEO of Affymetrix. “It is an honor for our product to be chosen to help governments make informed public health decisions using genetic information.”