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December 5, 2018

CT-backed Sema4, Mount Sinai collaborate on asthma study

Photo | Flickr via JulieK An asthma inhaler.

Stamford-based genomic testing firm Sema4 and New York City's Mount Sinai Health System this week launched a five-year study looking at the factors causing asthma.

The study will track almost 1,200 people with asthma, the most common chronic respiratory disease, affecting more than 350 million people worldwide and causing about 400,000 deaths annually.

Officials said the study will measure clinical, genomics, immunological, environmental and sensor data from mobile devices for analysis on how the disease functions, what triggers asthma attacks and which patients are most likely to respond to certain therapies.

Despite recent advancements, the prevalence of asthma is increasing. And so have direct healthcare costs and indirect costs from loss of productivity and early disability, officials said.

The joint study will benefit from Mount Sinai’s National Jewish Health Respiratory Institute, which is one of the region’s largest asthma programs, said Dr. Linda rogers, associate professor and clinical director of the adult asthma program at the hospital.

Sema4 bills itself as a patient-centered predictive health company that relies on deep data analysis to improve the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. It also offers advanced genome-based diagnostics for reproductive health and oncology and is building predictive models of complex disease.

In April, Sema4, which has locations in New York City, Stamford and Branford, announced plans to expand its Connecticut presence by over 400 jobs. The expansion is being supported by a $6 million loan from the state Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) for machinery, equipment and capital improvements.

Following the expansion, the health-data research operation will have 533 workers in Connecticut.

In late 2015, DECD provided Sema4 with a $9.5 million forgivable state loan for committing to create at least 145 jobs.

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