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A Bio Science South Dakota Success Story

BIO Successes: Major Players, Major Research

There are exciting things happening in South Dakota! From genome sequencing, to vaccine development, South Dakota is home to the research centers and organizations conducting this cutting-edge research.

  • The Avera Institute for Human Genetics is home to the HiSeq 2500 by Illumina, the only one of its kind in the state of South Dakota. The initial sequencing of the entire genome, accomplished in 2000, took 12 years and $3.7 billion to complete. Advancement in technology later shortened the time needed to sequence an entire genome to about 10 to 11 days. This latest next-generation equipment sequences a “genome in a day,” in 24 to 48 hours. The shortened timeframe and reduced cost of genome sequencing has opened new opportunities for Avera’s researchers and medical professionals to correlate genetic studies with treatment options.
  • SAB Biotherapeutics, formerly Hematech, a Sioux Falls-based biotech company, was acquired by Sanford Health. SAB has developed the world's first large animal platform technology to produce fully human antibodies, both monoclonal and polyclonal, using the latest advances in gene engineering and transfer to produce new biopharmaceuticals. SAB, in collaboration with Naval Medical Research Center in Washington, D.C, and the National Institutes of Health Integrated Research Facility in Maryland, have advanced several therapeutic candidates in infectious disease including emerging diseases like the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome Corona Virus (MERS CoV), several strains of influenza and others.
  • Sanford Imagenetics is a first-of-its-kind program in the country that integrates genomic medicine into primary care for adults.  Supported by a $125 million gift by Denny Sanford, the initiative will include facilities in Sioux Falls and Sanford’s other primary markets, the integration of genetic counselors into Internal Medicine, extensive bioinformatics investments and additional post-secondary educational programs in partnership with area universities and colleges for physicians, nurses and genetic counselors. Sanford Health’s new molecular genetics laboratory is more advanced than most large universities, including on-site capabilities in exome and whole genome sequencing.
  • The Avera Institute for Human Genetics had a visit from Dr. Dorret Boomsma, Director of the Netherlands Twin Register, to discuss potential collaborations between her group at Vrije University and Avera. Other members of Dr. Boomsma’s team had also visited the genetics lab in 2013. The Avera Institute for Human Genetics has received several shipments of samples collected through the Netherlands Twin Register, as well as the entire collection of adult samples Rutgers University analyzed as part of the Grand Opportunity grant that brought our two institutions together.
  • Sanford researcher John Lee, MD, and his team has engineered a vaccine for human papilloma virus (HPV) and in collaboration with Etubics has received a $1.03 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to move to clinical trials.

Courtesy of the South Dakota Biotechnology Association

Contact Kristen Honey