Metro Atlanta biotech company to collaborate with the Million Veteran Program on genotyping of veterans

(GWINNETT- METRO ATLANTA) March 5, 2014 – AKESOgen, in collaboration with Gwinnett Chamber Economic Development, announced the Department of Veterans Affairs has awarded it a $7.5 million contract for genotyping of veteran samples as part of the Million Veteran Program (MVP). The award encompasses the genotyping of 105,000 veterans in the first year of a five-year contract.

“The VA’s Million Veteran Program is one of the largest genetic initiatives ever undertaken in the US and its visionary genomics and genetics approach will provide new insights about how genes affect health. The goal is to improve healthcare for Veterans by understanding the genetic basis of many common conditions,” said Bob Boisjoli, CEO of AKESOgen. “We are delighted to have been selected for this unique endeavor and will provide data of the highest quality to the VA.”

The MVP is an important partnership between the Department of Veterans Affairs and veterans to improve healthcare among veterans and learn more about how genes affect health. In order to accomplish this, the MVP, along with companies such as AKESOgen, will establish one of the largest databases of genetic, military exposure, lifestyle, and health information. These research findings may lead to new methods for preventing and treating illnesses in veterans.

“I am thrilled that AKESOgen has chosen to advance its R&D initiatives in our state,” said Chris Carr, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “The company has been an excellent addition to Georgia’s progressive health science network and they are laying the foundation for tomorrow’s scientific discoveries. We look forward to seeing this partnership grow.”

“This is a tremendous opportunity for a Gwinnett-based company. We congratulate AKESOgen on its selection to help lead this initiative that will improve the lives of veterans and all Americans,” stated Gwinnett County Board of Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash.

AKESOgen provides biomarker profiling and genomics services for the research and development market, including biobanking, DNA/RNA extraction, and genetic technologies. Founded in 2010, the company serves the clinical, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, academic and government sectors.

A key contributor to the County’s ability to support a growing life science industry, Gwinnett Technical College offers workforce training through its Life Sciences Center, which opened in 2011. The interactive learning facility features advanced laboratory, classroom and clinical simulation centers for students, faculty and business partners.

“This is an exciting project for our community, for AKESOgen and most importantly, for our veterans. At Gwinnett Tech, we often say that we are training tomorrow’s workforce today and this project really embodies that. Our bioscience and life science students graduate with hands-on lab experience, including experience in DNA labs, working with instrumentation that is industry-standard. This is the type of project that truly benefits the growing life sciences industry in our region,” said Sharon Bartels, president, Gwinnett Tech.

The contract comes on the heels of AKESOgen’s recent announcement that it will add up to an additional ten employees in 2014 for its new facility in the City of Peachtree Corners. The building is triple the square footage of the company’s first home in Gwinnett and will enable the company to develop new clinical products, and now meet the research demands for the Department of VA.

“We celebrate this fantastic news for a growing, life sciences startup in Gwinnett County,” said Nick Masino, Senior Vice President for Gwinnett Chamber Economic Development and Partnership Gwinnett. “Our team works to support and facilitate the growth of life sciences companies in the County. We view this announcement as confirmation that Gwinnett provides the resources for companies to continue to thrive, and more importantly, make a lasting impact through projects, such as the MVP program.”

To learn more about AKESOgen, please visit www.akesogen.com.

For more information, or to learn how to get involved in local economic development efforts, please visit www.gwinnetteconomicdevelopment.com.

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