The Last Scientist-Chairman At Merck — Dr. Roy Vagelos — And His Later Endeavors: Regeneron

There is a very nice — and very bouncily optimistic piece, in the Science section (and the online Health section) of this morning’s Gray Lady — highlighting what may be a future category killer drug, in cholesterol management. The story, and lead, belongs to Regeneron. And as various commenters have cogently reminded us in the past, Dr. Roy Vagelos is a moving force behind that company.

So — as my update to the last post suggested, this DNA 2.0 effort — in at least selected spaces — may yet turn out like Internet Bubble 2.0. Ooh — wait. . . I mean. . . Um. . . .

More seriously, I do think the Regeneron notion — to sequence the complete genome of over 100,000 otherwise diverse people — is a very smart, and likely very-important (i.e., ultimately fruit-bearing) scientific idea. Go read it all, here:

. . . .The new projects, by sequencing the entire exomes or genomes of huge populations, are looking for rarer variations that might have a bigger influence on disease risk.

“You want the low-frequency, high-impact variants because they are the ones that are going to have more impact on the biology,” said Dr. Jeffrey Gulcher, chief scientist at NextCODE Health, a deCODE spinoff that sells software and services for genomic studies.

Studies trying to link genes to diseases require information on the health of the people whose DNA is being studied. That is where Geisinger comes in. It has extensive electronic medical records on its patients and has already collected 45,000 DNA samples.

To protect patient privacy, the medical information and DNA samples given to Regeneron will be anonymous. But Geisinger will know who the patients are and can use that information in their care. . . .

And remember, later this evening, I’ll have an update on any CEO statements — in San Francisco — about the goofy rumor of a Merck from Novartis Animal Health (and Consumer Health: Merck to Novartis) $5 billion swap deal. So do stop back, tonight, after 8 Eastern — off to the office, now.

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