Olink’s protein biomarker technology to provide data from 53,000 participants

The Olink Proteomics Olink Explore 1536 platform, using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) as read-out, will be used in a project to measure plasma protein concentration in 53,000 individuals from the UK Biobank, one of the world’s largest genetic resources. The project is funded by a consortium of ten biopharmaceutical companies.

This large-scale proteomics study will further enhance previous commitments from several consortium members on genomic analyses of the 500,000 volunteers in the UK Biobank resource, with the ultimate goals of developing a better understanding of disease biology and more effective therapies.

UK Biobank is a large-scale, biomedical database and research resource containing in-depth genetic and health information from half a million UK participants. The database, which is regularly augmented with additional data, is globally accessible to approved researchers and scientists undertaking vital research into the most common and life-threatening diseases.

The Olink platform combines high throughput and high-quality protein-level data from very small sample volumes. The Olink platform combines the specificity of paired antibody binding with attached DNA-oligos to transform a protein measuring challenge to a digital DNA counting solution. Olink Explore leverages NGS readout technology using the NovaseqTM platform from Illumina, a technology being used for whole exome and whole genome sequencing of UK Biobank.

“We are very proud to be chosen as a partner by this innovative biopharmaceutical consortium. We believe that by complementing ongoing genomics efforts with large-scale, highly validated and precise proteomic data, we will rapidly advance our understanding of real-time human biology and accelerate the development of life-saving new medicines. This is particularly pertinent given that the majority of drug targets are proteins and that the protein biomarkers are valuable tools to guide effective and efficient drug development through enhancing the understanding of disease and by identifying patients who can benefit most from therapies.” said Jon Heimer, CEO of Olink Proteomics.

There will also be samples from UK Biobank participants who have been infected with SARS-CoV-2, with imaging data prior to and after infection. Combining imaging data with circulating protein levels, particularly those related to inflammation thought to be critical to the body’s response to SARS-CoV-2, has the potential to provide insight into the pathophysiological response to infection.

The consortium will analyse 56,000 samples from 53,000 participants starting in 2021 using Olink Explore 1536. This will be achieved in 20 weeks, making over 7.3 million protein measurements available in a matter of months.

The ten biopharmaceutical companies involved in the consortium are: Amgen, AstraZeneca, Bristol Myers Squibb, Biogen, Genentech (a member of the Roche Group), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Janssen, Pfizer Inc, Regeneron and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.

Image credit: H Heyerlein

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