In March, J. Craig Venter, Robert Hariri and Peter H. Diamandis launched Human Longevity, raising an initial $70 million in private funding. The San Diego–based company announced its intention to apply genetic sequencing on a massive scale to answer questions about disease and aging. Venter vows to build the world's largest sequencing operation and has so far purchased two Illumina HISeq X Ten instruments. Human Longevity will assemble genotypic, phenotypic and microbiome information from 40,000 individuals. The database will include healthy and diseased individuals, children, adults and super-centenarians, recruited from the University of California, San Diego Moores Cancer Center. Some of the revenue will come from selling access to the raw data. Last September, Google backed Calico, an anti-aging company run by Arthur Levinson, former CEO of Genentech. Kate Bingham, of SV Life Sciences in London, says: “The real test is going to be how effective is it versus public sector efforts.... I rather doubt that [they] will be able to hold onto any of the key information.” Bingham is alluding to Venter's Celera Genomics, which was unable to compete with the open access and publicly funded Human Genome Project. The nonprofit organization led by Leroy Hood, president of the Seattle-based Institute for Systems Biology, hopes to expand Pioneer 100, the 100-person wellness project from 100 to 100,000 subjects within the next four years. Also. China's BGI launched the Million Human Genomes Project in 2011.
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Brazil, R. Venter to sequence longevity. Nat Biotechnol 32, 406 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/nbt0514-406b