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Every Saudi's Choice to Have Genetic Code Mapped to Transform the Kingdom's Healthcare
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Dec 8, 2013 - 8:48:44 PM

(HealthNewsDigest.com) - King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology Partners with Life Technologies to Analyze 100,000 Human Genomes to Identify the Causes of Disease in the Population of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Arab World

GLASGOW, Scotland, Dec. 8, 2013 -- The King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), Saudi Arabia's national funding agency, and Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ:LIFE) today announce The Saudi Human Genome Program - a national research project to study the genetic basis of all disease in the Kingdom and throughout the Middle East and use the findings to offer the ultimate personal care in Saudi Arabia.

Through a network of an initial 10 genome centers across Saudi Arabia, the ambitious program using the Ion Proton(TM) DNA sequencer, will focus on sequencing 100,000 human genomes over the next five years to study both normal and disease-associated genes specific to the Saudi population, with five further genome centers to be created in the future. This genomic variant data will be fully analyzed and used to create a Saudi-specific database that will provide the basis for future development of personalized medicine in the Kingdom and represents the most comprehensive effort to identify the disease-causing genes for the population of a country and Arab peoples.

"King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology is committed to the development of R&D programs of excellence in all scientific disciplines," said Dr. Mohammed Bin Ibrahim Al Suwayl, President of KACST. "We have clear strategy and policy of the importance of science to a knowledge-based society and we believe the Saudi Human Genome Program will help shape the understanding of health and disease and usher in an era of personalized medicine in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and we are grateful for the investment and vision of the Saudi leadership."

Prince Dr. Turki bin Saud Al Saud, KACST Vice President for Research Institutes said: "The Saudi Human Genome Program will position the Kingdom at the forefront of personalized medicine and will empower our citizens to help them make informed decisions for their health plans. It's hoped other global academic institutions will use the impressive facilities KACST is launching in the near future."

The sequencing will be performed using Life Technologies' semiconductor-based Ion Proton(TM) DNA sequencer. The instruments will be deployed in the network of 15 genome centers at various sites across the Kingdom.

"This is a program of exceptional scale enabled by the Ion Proton," said Gregory T. Lucier, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Life Technologies. "It demonstrates KACST's vision to position the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a world leader in genetic research through its genome centers to deliver the ultimate in personalized medicine. We expect the Saudi Human Genome Program will provide a model which many countries will follow."

Each center is designed and equipped by Life Technologies' Enterprise Genomics Services team which will further accelerate the project by providing end-to-end solutions and services for operations and informatics. This wealth of information, provided with the full consent of participants, will also enable clinicians in the future to offer premarital and prenatal screening for rare diseases, which will facilitate preventive medicine and decrease the emotional, social and economic burden of rare birth defects. The data will also enable worldwide population studies to understand and compare population-specific influences leading to normal and harmful variants, common and rare mutations.

Dr. Prabhu Sampath, Chief Executive Officer of Life Technologies' distributor in the Middle East, Integrated Gulf Biosystems (IGB) said: "IGB is privileged to have played a pivotal role in bringing this disruptive technology in genome sequencing from Life Technologies to KACST and the impact of this project will be far reaching and will lead to the introduction of new techniques and tools, including precision medicine to both patients and the clinicians treating them."

The Ion Proton(TM) is For Research Use Only. Not for use in diagnostic procedures.

About Life Technologies

Life Technologies Corporation (NASDAQ: LIFE) is a global biotechnology company that is committed to providing the most innovative products and services to leading customers in the fields of scientific research, genetic analysis and applied sciences. With a presence in more than 180 countries, the company's portfolio of 50,000 end-to-end solutions is secured by more than 5,000 patents and licenses that span the entire biological spectrum -- scientific exploration, molecular diagnostics, 21(st )century forensics, regenerative medicine and agricultural research. Life Technologies has approximately 10,000 employees and had sales of $3.8 billion in 2012.

Life Technologies' Safe Harbor Statement

This press release includes forward-looking statements about Life Technologies' anticipated results that involve risks and uncertainties. Some of the information contained in this press release, including, but not limited to, statements as to industry trends and Life Technologies' plans, objectives, expectations and strategy for its business, contains forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Any statements that are not statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements. When used, the words "believe," "plan," "intend," "anticipate," "target," "estimate," "expect" and the like, and/or future tense or conditional constructions ("will," "may," "could," "should," etc.), or similar expressions, identify certain of these forward-looking statements. Important factors which could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements are detailed in filings made by Life Technologies with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Life Technologies undertakes no obligation to update or revise any such forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.

About King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST)

The King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology is committed to the development of R&D programs of excellence in all scientific disciplines. We have guided strategy and policy in respect to these activities in recognition of the importance of this area to a knowledge based society. KACST has taken major initiatives in the areas of Nanotechnology, Biotechnology and Water desalination using solar energy among others. High priority has been given to Genetics, which is shaping the understanding of health and disease in all societies. KACST currently funds more than 200 research projects in the important area of Biotechnology and Life Sciences including Genetics. In taking these initiatives KACST is grateful for the investment and vision of the Saudi leadership.

About Integrated Gulf Biosystems (IGB)

IGB is a complete solution provider to scientists in the fields of life and analytical sciences. Founded in 1999 in UAE, the experience, expertise and commitment demonstrated by the company laid a strong foundation of growth and performance that have helped it expand its footprint significantly across the globe with presence in UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen and Libya. As the company expands its portfolio with newer technologies across geographies, it remains rooted in its value of creating excellence with regionally deployed teams and using local expertise.

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