Centre of Excellence in Abu Dhabi boosting genomic technologies

Masdar, Abu Dhabi has recently seen the launch of the region’s largest and most advanced centre for genomic technologies. G42 Healthcare has opened the Omics Centre of Excellence which offers exciting capacity across a range of technologies that will advance precision medicine.

Automation features heavily in the state-of-the-art facility, with automation in sample preparation and library curation. The processing power of the facility is unmatched in the region. It 3rd generation sequencing platform, for example, is already the region’s largest, but the facility is expecting to add further cutting edge technology to enhance optical mapping shedding light on structural variations in genomics. Sequencing is also key to the technologies available at the Omics Centre as it will use the Sanger sequencing method to identify mutations.

Despite its official launch this week, the Centre has been operational since late 2020 and has already been behind some significant breakthroughs. As art of the UAE’s fight against COVID-19, the centre facilitated viral genome sequencing of large sample sizes, elucidating some of mutations present in the coronavirus behind the pandemic. It has also created an Emirati reference genome by analysing over 1000 samples with its Third Generation Sequencing (TGS) and Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) platforms.

The CEO of G42 Healthcare, Ashish Koshy is buoyant about the facility’s future, “With the official launch of our Omics Centre of Excellence we mark the next stage in our journey towards improving healthcare delivery through advanced research and cutting-edge technologies.” After the opening of the centre by the Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Health, His Excellency Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Hamed, His Excellency donated a sample of his blood to become the first contributor to the Emirati Genome Program. The program is an extension of the project to create the Emirati reference genome and will mine the genetic variation within the Emirati population for variations that will open the door to precision medicine and preventative measures to improve overall health outcomes.

The facility will continue to break new ground in the ongoing development of solutions leading towards precision and personalised medicine but will also reach beyond human medicine into areas as diverse as agriculture and forensics.