Harnessing the Icelandic Population for Drug Development

ViaGenetics is creating a genealogical database and large-scale biobank centering around the population in Iceland.

Why Iceland?


Iceland has a remarkably homogenous population that can trace its lineage to just a few common ancestors.


That means that there’s less genetic variation and background noise to interfere with the identification of meaningful gene variants.


Our genealogy database will combine detailed pedigree information, genetic homogeneity, and an affiliation with the University hospital system and the University of Akureyri to provide a unique opportunity to study and understand the genetic contribution to disease and health.

The Ultimate Genealogical Database

A member of the ViaGenetics team has published over 130 volumes of genealogy books on Iceland’s families and there is much that remains unpublished, but his books address nearly 600,000 Icelanders and their family connections.


Censusologists believe that Icelanders, counting from colonization to the present, number approximately one million, and they estimate that the names of approximately 800,000 of them are known. The data available in ViaGenetics database includes approximately 600,000 names in digital form and, on the other hand, about 600,000 names in issued books and a number of large collections of manuscripts.


These two collections are being merged into a single well-connected database.

ViaGenetics Arctic Exclusive License

ViaGenetics has an exclusive, approved biobank license in Iceland which, for the first time, provides:


  • Exclusive license to all medical healthcare records
  • Exclusive access to the current national genealogy database
  • Ability to link genomic and phenotypic data
  • Ability to correlate founder genes to present day descendants
  • Ability to accurately select ideal candidates for clinical trials


ViaGenetics lab and biobank will dramatically advance drug development with plans to sequence 10,000 individuals’ whole genomes and genotype another 60,000.


This dataset will allow for predictive analysis of genomic population statistics and the simplified selection of ideal candidates for clinical trials – further collapsing the cycle-time to discovery.

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