Senator Hatch Backs Utah's Precision Medicine Push

In anticipation of upcoming budget negotiations in Congress, the Utah Genome Project showcased to Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, genetics research advances that are synergizing with the national Precision Medicine Initiative. The presentation highlighted newly formed public-private partnerships with renowned industry partners, a demonstration that UGP is being noticed across the country. “What you’re doing is crucial for the health of this country and really the whole world. You put Utah on the map,” said Hatch.

Collaborations with AncestryDNA at, Regeneron Genetics Center, a wholly owned subsidiary of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Omicia join two worlds, combining rigorous academic research with the resources that can bring discoveries to consumers. Each partnership taps into UGP’s varied strengths - from its well-characterized patient cohorts to big data analysis – to identify causes of genetic disease, and the individuals that have them. “Public-private partnerships,” Hatch said, “are having an impact.”

At about $30 billion, the NIH budget seems massive. But it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the $3 trillion that the United States spends on health care—$900 billion of which has been deemed by the Institute of Medicine to be a waste. Raising NIH funding by one or two percent could go a long way toward bending the cost curve, Lynn Jorde, Ph.D., UGP’s executive director, told Hatch. “That’s what these projects are really all about: doing medicine precisely, so we can help patients in the best way we can, and avoid the waste.”

Watch the Precision Medicine Event

(0:00) Welcome Address

Vivian Lee, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., CEO, UU Health Care

(7:50) Opening Remarks

Senator Orrin Hatch, United States Senator

(18:20) The Utah Genome Project

Lynn Jorde, Ph.D., Chair, Department of Human Genetics

(48:00) Outliving My Family History

Emily Scalley, Patient Advocate

(58:00) ARUP Laboratories: Diagnostics and Precision Medicine

Dean Li, M.D., Ph.D., Interim CEO, ARUP Laboratories

(69:00) AncestryDNA: The Power of a Million American Genomes

Catherine Ball, Ph.D., Vice President, Genomics and Bioinformatics, AncestryDNA

(79:00) Omicia: Clinical Genome Interpretation

Martin Reese, Ph.D., President and CSO, Omicia, Inc.

"Utah's Genetic Resources Are National Treasures"