FinnGen Welcomes New Industry Partner Boehringer Ingelheim

Boehringer Ingelheim has joined FinnGen, a large-scale academic – industry, genome research collaboration in Finland aiming to collect and analyse genome and health data from 500,000 Finnish biobank participants.
Text "welcome" on a very colorful background.
Photo: Belinda Fewings on Unsplash

FinnGen combines genome data with longitudinal, lifetime follow-up health data originating from multiple national health registries. This unique data combination allows the FinnGen researchers to identify correlations between genetic factors and health outcomes in the Finnish founder population enabling genetic discoveries and enhancing drug target identification and prioritisation.

FinnGen aims on one hand to provide novel medically and therapeutically relevant insights but also construct a world-class resource that can be applied for future studies. The study has so far identified over 400 new disease associated loci where the associated variant is enriched in the Finnish population. These findings provide potential for further functional studies and new insight in disease mechanisms.

FinnGen now includes thirteen industry partners, Finnish biobanks, University Hospitals and their respective Universities, the Finnish Institute of Health and Welfare (THL), the Finnish Red Cross Blood Service and the Finnish Biobank Coperative FINBB. In addition to the seven initial industry partners, five more joined during 2019 – 2020. With Boehringer Ingelheim now on board, FinnGen clearly is among the largest public-private studies in the world.

“New, widely shared data is critical in the acceleration of medical discoveries. Joint investments by academia and pharma in large, disease-agnostic studies reflect a shared need to bring more of these discoveries to fruition”, says Aarno Palotie, FinnGen Scientific Director from the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), University of Helsinki.

This step is part of a long-term strategic program at Boehringer Ingelheim to harness the power of data science to transform drug discovery and development. The aim is to catalyze the next breakthrough therapies that change lives by accelerating timelines, improving scientific and clinical success and further elevating patient centricity.

“We are proud to be part of this exciting consortium as part of our mission to bring transformative new treatments to patients,” said Jan Nygaard Jensen, PhD, Global Head of Computational Biology and Digital Sciences at Boehringer Ingelheim, Boehringer Ingelheim.

“We believe that combining our expertise in translational science and computational genomics with human healthcare data at scale, we will be able to yield important insights for our patients and the wider community. This is an important time for the healthcare industry, and we hope to further enable our researchers to better identify novel therapeutic strategies and keep the tradition of innovation in Boehringer Ingelheim.” 

FinnGen dataset already contains genotype and health data from more than 350,000 Finns. The amount of data will increase throughout the project, with 40 – 50,000 individuals added every six months.