Nir Barzilai, director of the Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, will help lead a newly-formed centenarian consortium for the Archon Genomics X PRIZE presented by Medco.

The $ 10 million dollar competition challenges scientists and entrepreneurs to sequence the complete genomes of 100 healthy centenarians in 30 days.  The competition tasks teams with delivering medical quality genome sequencing results for $ 1,000 per centenarian.

As one of the leaders of the centenarian consortium, Dr. Barzilai will help identify and collect the 100 centenarian genomes that will be sequenced. Known as the Medco 100 Over 100, the genomes will be donated by 100 vital and independent individuals who are aged 100 or older and have participated in a centenarian study, like Dr. Barzilai’s Longevity Genes Project.

One of Dr. Barzilai’s participants, 105-year old Irving Kahn – who founded a successful New York City-based value investment firm and still works daily – participated in today’s X PRIZE announcement event.

Understanding the genetic makeup that protects these healthy centenarians from Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, cancer and other diseases associated with aging is necessary if we all want to live disease-free into an advanced old age.” – Dr. Barzilai

“By sequencing the genomes of these healthy centenarians – and making the results available to scientists – this contest will be a powerful tool in helping us decode the genetic underpinnings of healthy aging and develop drugs that can mimic the protections these individuals have.”

The assistance of Dr. Barzilai and the other centenarian consortium members have been critical for creating this contest.” – Grant Campany senior director

Without them we would not have the genomic material for this invaluable research that may bring us one step closer to realizing the promise of personalized medicine.”

The 30-day Archon Genomics X PRIZE competition begins on January 3, 2013.