04 Jun 2024
Mumtalakat and M42 announce Amana Healthcare Bahrain expansion

M42 signs groundbreaking agreement with AstraZeneca to advance prevention and precision medicine for breast cancer

  • AstraZeneca signs M42 as its clinical genomics partner of choice in the Middle East region
  • The partnership will leverage M42’s cutting-edge genomics capabilities to sequence breast cancer gene
  • Program aims to enable preventive cancer care among all patients in UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar
  • Companion diagnostics program with AstraZeneca aims to also power next-generation precision medicine

M42, a first-of-its-kind tech-enabled global health powerhouse, has signed a groundbreaking agreement with AstraZeneca, a global leader in science-led biopharmaceuticals, to advance preventive healthcare and next-generation precision medicine. As AstraZeneca’s clinical genomics partner of choice in the Middle East region, M42 will conduct sequencing of hereditary breast cancer genes, with the aim of developing personalized care and prevention strategies tailored to the specific needs of each patient.

M42 signs groundbreaking agreement with AstraZeneca

The trailblazing initiative demonstrates M42’s advanced multi-omics sequencing capabilities in the realm of oncological diagnostics, a relatively new field that has tremendous potential to improve patient outcomes amid the growing global cancer burden.

By facilitating the sequencing of cancer genes, M42 will facilitate in determining each patient’s genetic risk for cancer, thus ensuring that preventive measures can be explored in the early stages or even before the cancer develops. In doing so, the health-tech leader, in partnership with AstraZeneca, is also providing one of the first companion diagnostics programs in the Gulf, with findings that could be utilized to optimize personalized drug-based interventions for patients.

Dr. Fahed Al Marzooqi, Deputy Group Chief Operating Officer at M42, said: “M42 operates at the cutting edge of innovation and is committed to reshaping the future of health with its provision of next-generation preventive and precision medicine. This pioneering program, powered by disruptive omics technologies, aims to enable personalized cancer treatment and intervention, contributing directly to patient outcomes and paving the way for preventive medicine, in keeping with our mission to support people, not just patients and prevention, not just treatment. Our partnership with AstraZeneca aims to further lay the groundwork for a future in which precision medicine is the norm for effectively combatting health challenges.”

Peter Raouf, GCC Oncology Business Unit Director at AstraZeneca, said: “This collaboration with M42 represents a significant step forward in our commitment to advancing personalized precision medicine in cancer research. At AstraZeneca, we are happy to be pioneering efforts in preventative cancer care by utilizing M42’s state-of-the-art genomics expertise. It is our priority to continue striving to enhance patient outcomes for the health of people, society, and the planet.”

The sequencing will be carried out at M42’s Omics Center of Excellence, one of the largest multi-omics research facilities in the world with a specific focus on generating advanced genomics knowledge. As the region’s largest and most advanced omics facility, M42’s Omics Centre of Excellence has already been instrumental in facilitating one of the largest population genomic initiatives in the world, the Emirati Genome Program (EGP). Under the EGP program, the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi has published guidelines on germline testing for breast and ovarian cancer predisposition genes to improve precision medicine practices in the emirate and tailor treatment based on patients genetic makeup.

For the purposes of this study, research efforts will focus on patients from UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar in order to strengthen genomics knowledge related to non-Western population groups, which are typically underrepresented in clinical research. Under the agreement, the first hospital to collect genomics data from consenting patients will be Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, a world-class hospital dedicated to complex care that is part of the M42 network.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide. In the UAE, it is the leading cause of cancer death, resulting in 11.6% of all cancer fatalities every year, according to the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP). About 15% of breast cancers are caused by hereditary mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, which can be passed down by both parents to their progeny.