BETHESDA, Md., Nov. 5, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The ACMG Foundation for Genetic and Genomic Medicine (ACMG Foundation) launched the Illumina/ACMG Foundation $200K Challenge for the fourth quarter of 2020. Longtime sponsor and Corporate Partner Program member Illumina pledged up to $200,000 to support the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics’ (ACMG) new Evidence-Based Guidelines (EBG) Program.
With this latest sponsorship, Illumina is challenging companies and individuals to help fund ACMG’s recently created EBG Program. Illumina will match up to $200,000 in support in four giving categories: a $100K corporate match, two $45,000 corporate gifts, and one pool of $10,000 gifts that Illumina hopes will be matched by individual donors. To date, $220,000 of the possible $400,000 total has already been pledged.
“Having guidelines for genetic and genomic testing that are evidence driven and patient focused is critical to the appropriate adoption of personalized medicine. ACMG has demonstrated a strong commitment to building a robust, evidence-based guidelines program and their membership includes the expertise required,” said Phillip Febbo, MD, chief medical officer of Illumina. “We are thrilled to provide continued support through the Illumina matching challenge and hope to inspire a diverse network of community contributions while providing the financial support critical to sustaining the EBG Program.”
Just days after the matching challenge was announced, Invitae, another ACMG Foundation Corporate Partner, made a commitment of $100,000 to the Illumina/ACMG Foundation $200K Challenge, securing half of Illumina’s total pledge for the program.
Similarly, Evan and Cindy Jones of Teton Village, Wyoming, heard of the challenge and immediately provided a single matching contribution covering the individual donor portion of the $200K Challenge. Mr. Jones serves on the Board of Directors for the ACMG Foundation and is the Managing Member of jVen Capital, LLC. Jones said, “Cindy and I were excited to support the development of evidence-based guidelines. This work clearly helps improve patient care for those suffering from genetic disorders. It is even more exciting to know this contribution was doubled by Illumina.”
ACMG Foundation staff are working hard to identify donor companies who are willing to step up and support the last two $45,000 corporate gifts that will be matched by the Illumina sponsorship. Once found, this additional $180,000 will greatly strengthen the development of new evidence-based guidelines in 2021.
A third company, BioMarin Pharmaceuticals, did support the EBG Program with a $150,000 gift, but this donation occurred prior to Illumina’s pledge.
At present, the ACMG Foundation is on track to raise the $1 million needed annually to fully roll out this new EBG Program in 2021.
“The ACMG Foundation’s Guideline Development Fund will enable ACMG to hire a team of qualified methodologists and medical experts,” said ACMG’s CEO Max Muenke, MD, FACMG. “These highly skilled employees can then undertake the time-intensive work of systematic evidence review and guideline development, in partnership with volunteer teams of ACMG members and senior leaders. The ACMG Foundation’s role as the fundraising arm of ACMG ensures a firewall between the science and the donors, protecting the integrity of the systematic evidence review process.”
Evidence-based guidelines are a crucial component of informed patient care, particularly in the field of genetic and genomic medicine. Many genetic health conditions are extremely rare. In some cases, medical experts in the field see just a handful of afflicted patients over an entire career. More funding will expand ACMG’s existing team and greatly accelerate this crucial work.
Evidence-based guidelines rely on an extensive examination of relevant peer-reviewed studies, consider patient outcomes from around the globe, and require a strong and determined team of staff experts to develop. New guidelines give doctors and other healthcare providers access to the tools they need to treat conditions with confidence. Patients, in turn, receive the most advantageous treatments based on the best possible current science. These trusted guidelines also help the payor community determine reimbursement rates and coverage options for scientifically supported healthcare services.
Dr. Bruce R. Korf, ACMG Foundation president, said, “Illumina’s generous commitment in the past two years really launched this program, and PerkinElmer’s early support in 2019 was also critical. There is a great deal of work yet to do, but the strong show of support for the EBG Program this fall is very encouraging. Raising funds during a global pandemic has not been easy, but I think the support we’ve received, and the support of private donors like the Jones family, are signs that we are advancing a critically important program. And thanks to Illumina, donors can do twice the good with one donation.”
The ACMG Foundation website has a new section dedicated to all the activities of the EBG Program including the relevant ACMG committees, the process by which topics are selected and vetted, and the program’s proposed budget. Visit http://www.acmgfoundation.org/ebg for information related to all aspects of the EBG Program. Inquiries can be addressed to email@example.com.