NHRI Taiwan launches G2020 Population Genomics Pilot, partnering with Illumina on an Operational Architecture for Population Genomics

November 6, 2019

Pilot effort will sequence 10,000 genomes by end of 2020, with the goal of embedding genome sequencing in the health system by 2025.

TAIPEI: The National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) of Taiwan today announced that it is taking an effort to embed whole genome and exome sequencing in the health system by 2025, starting with a pilot program to sequence 10,000 genomes of Taiwanese patients by end of 2020. To accelerate progress, NHRI will partner with Illumina for the operational infrastructure of this program, including lab workflow, genomics data management, and analysis services.  This architecture will be the foundation for other ecosystem partners and third parties to plug into.


According to Dr. Peter Tsai (Distinguished Investigator, NHRI Institute of Molecular and Genomic Medicine), considering that genomic testing has been implemented in various hospitals in Taiwan, the government has outlined a national strategy for coordinating data or processes, to ensure consistency and scale for implementation into the health system. The G2020 Population Genomics Pilot is part of a broader precision medicine Flagship Program to deliver on this strategy. “The Taiwan government has supported G2020 through the Flagship Program, with two main objectives: First, establishing a production scale, accredited genome sequencing facility to conduct population genomics projects and implement precision medicine in the Asia Pacific region. Second, implementing a big-data platform supporting exchange of genomic and health data with research and industry participants, to facilitate healthcare innovation and boost the local biotechnology industry.”


“The Flagship Program has sequenced over 2,000 genomes for patients with rare disease and cancer. As part of the G2020 pilot, we plan to extend this to 10,000 cases to lay the foundation for routine use of genome sequencing in clinical care for patients in Taiwan,” said Dr. Kung-Yee Liang, President of NHRI. “Through G2020, we will set up the first ISO-accredited genomics facility that can deliver clinical-grade genomes, integrated into the data infrastructure of Taiwan’s healthcare systems.”
As part of the partnership, Illumina and NHRI will develop and implement an operational architecture for Population Genomics, leveraging various instruments, library prep and informatics products in a composite solution, serving as a comprehensive operational infrastructure for the G2020 Pilot. A key element of this partnership is Informatics, where Illumina will also deploy its Illumina Analytics Platform services and end-user facing applications (i.e. DRAGEN, BaseSpace tools), to support a genomics data exchange, enabling secure data access to the linked genomic and eHealth data for various clinical, research and industry stakeholder groups.


“Illumina is invested in unlocking the power of the genome and working with the community like GA4GH and our population genomics initiatives, to enable an economy of repeated transactions on linked genomic and eHealth data which will ultimately generate more evidence supporting the medical utility of genomics in healthcare”, said Susan Tousi, SVP Product Development at Illumina.

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