Nobel Prize-winner J. Craig Venter is launching a company based in La Jolla that he calls “the first shot across the bow of the changing of the U.S. medical system,” U-T San Diego reported Tuesday.

Human Longevity Inc. is being touted as the largest genetic sequencing center in the world.

Statement on homepage of Human Longevity Inc., launched by J. Craig Venter.
Statement on homepage of Human Longevity Inc., launched by J. Craig Venter.

“Venter says he’ll soon begin sequencing up to 40,000 genomes a year, and quickly ramp up to 100,000, to find the mutations that contribute to age-related illnesses such as heart disease and cancer, which collectively kill about 1.2 million people a year in the U.S.,” the U-T said.

The newspaper says the company will first focus on cancer.

“HLI also will tackle increasingly common afflictions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease,” the U-T said. “The diseases are a large and growing focus of local scientists, including those at UC San Diego, which last year created an Institute for Genomic Medicine.”

The plan drew praise from such people as La Jolla cardiologist-geneticist Eric Topol, who will preside over this week’s Future of Genomic Medicine Conference in La Jolla, where Venter will elaborate on his project.

The U-T quoted medical and computer expert Larry Smarr of UC San Diego computer as saying: “I think this project is very doable with Illumina’s new sequencers. And Craig is more capable than anyone I know of bringing together technology and science to attack longevity, which will be more of an issue as baby boomers age. Baby boomers are going to want to live longer, and to live well.”

Human Longevity is hiring as well, posting nearly two dozen openings at launch.