The UK is set to become the world leader in ground-breaking genetic
research into cancer and rare diseases, which will transform how
diseases are diagnosed and treated, thanks to a package of investment
worth more than £300million, the Prime Minister will announce today.
The four year project will allow scientists to do pioneering new
research to decode 100,000 human genomes - a patient's personal DNA
code. The landmark project is on a scale not seen anywhere else in the
world and is part of the Prime Minister's commitment to ensure the NHS
as well as the UK's research and life science sector is at the forefront
of global advances in modern medicine.
Sequencing the genome of a person with cancer or someone with a rare
disease will help scientists and doctors understand how disease works.
The project has the potential to transform the future of health care,
with new and better tests, drugs and treatment. It is expected to
provide a lifeline to thousands of families affected by rare genetic
diseases and cancers.
The Prime Minister has pledged that the UK will map 100,000 human
genomes by 2017.
Now, as world leading research organisations join forces, the 100,000
Genomes Project has reached a major milestone in a package of new
The Prime Minister is today unveiling a new partnership between Genomics
England and the company Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN) that will deliver
infrastructure and expertise to turn the plan into reality. As part of
this, Illumina's services for whole genome sequencing have been secured
in a deal worth around £78million.
In turn, Illumina will invest around £162million into the work in
England over four years, creating new knowledge and jobs in the field of
genome sequencing. The investment will not only help the life science
industry to thrive, but potentially create opportunities for talented UK
scientists to lead the world. It will also pave the way for all NHS
patients to eventually benefit from this exciting new technology.
This research puts the NHS at the forefront of scientific discovery.
This is in line with the Prime Minister's vision for the NHS to be the
first mainstream health service in the world to offer genomic medicine
as part of routine care.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
"This agreement will see the UK lead the world in genetic research
within years. I am determined to do all I can to support the health and
scientific sector to unlock the power of DNA, turning an important
scientific breakthrough into something that will help deliver better
tests, better drugs and above all better care for patients.
"As our plan becomes a reality, I believe we will be able to transform
how devastating diseases are diagnosed and treated in the NHS and across
the world, while supporting our best scientists and life science
businesses to discover the next wonder drug or breakthrough technology."
The Wellcome Trust has invested more than £1 billion in genomic research
and has agreed to spend £27 million on a world class sequencing hub at
its Genome Campus near Cambridge. This will house Genomics England's
operations alongside those of the internationally respected Sanger
The agreement will place Genomics England at the heart of one o the
world's most vibrant genomic science and technology clusters, and allow
scientists to work with world-class researchers from the Sanger
Institute, the European Bioinformatics Institute, and biotechnology
companies based on the same site.
The Medical Research Council has also earmarked £24 million to help
provide the computing power to make sure that the data of participants
will be properly analysed, interpreted and made available to doctors and
NHS England has started the process of selecting the first NHS Genomics
Medicine Centres. Successful centres will help to progress this
ambitious project by inviting cancer and rare disease patients to take
part to have their genome sequenced. NHS England has agreed to
underwrite an NHS contribution of up to £20 million over the life of the
The cash injection - and new partnerships - will mean excellent progress
can be made on the 100,000 Genomes Project. It is expected that around
40,000 NHS patients could benefit directly from the research. Ultimately
this work will pave the way for genomics-based medicine to become part
of everyday practice throughout the NHS.
Participation in the project will be based on consent, and people's data
will be strictly protected through Genomics England's secure data
Life Sciences Minister George Freeman said:
"Genomics England's ground breaking partnership with Illumina confirms
Britain's position as a world leader in the field of genetic medicine.
This project will help us map genomes on an unprecedented scale and
bring better treatments to people with cancers and rare diseases for
generations to come.
"This project is also very important for the economy and the development
of life sciences in this country - including creating valuable jobs in
Cambridge and beyond."
Sir John Chisholm, Executive Chair of Genomics England said:
"This is a real milestone in turning this ambitious project into what we
always intended which is a world leading project capable of delivering
immense benefit to current and future patients."
Jay Flatley, CEO of Illumina said:
"This is a momentous day for the UK to push the boundaries of medical
science and create the first comprehensive national program for genomic
"Illumina is committed to partnering with Genomics England as they look
to implement vital changes in the way healthcare is practiced. This
project confirms the UK as a leader in the global race to implement
genomic technology and create a lasting legacy for patients, the NHS and
the UK economy."
Jeremy Farrar, Director of the Wellcome Trust, said:
"Understanding humanity's genetic code is not only going to be
fundamental to the medicine of the future. It is an essential part of
medicine today. In rare congenital diseases, in cancer and in
infections, genomic insights are already transforming diagnosis and
"The Wellcome Trust has invested more than £1 billion in genome research
that has built this understanding, including pivotal contributions to
the Human Genome Project, the world-leading science of the Sanger
Institute, and critical work in global health, medical ethics and public
engagement. Genomics England will further exploit this knowledge for
medical advances that help patients, within a robust ethical framework
that relies on their informed consent, so supporting its efforts is a
logical next step. We will be proud to host its sequencing hub alongside
Sanger's at our Hinxton genome campus, and to fund researchers who use
its data to investigate disease."
Simon Stevens, NHS England's Chief Executive said:
"The NHS is now set to become one of the world's 'go-to' health services
for the development of innovative genomic tests and patient treatments,
building on our long track record as the nation that brought humanity
antibiotics, vaccines, modern nursing, hip replacements, IVF, CT
scanners, and breakthrough discoveries from the circulation of blood to
the existence of DNA.
"The NHS' comparative advantage in unlocking patient benefits from the
new genomic revolution stems from our unique combination of a large and
diverse population, with universal access to care, multi-year data that
spans care settings, world-class medicine and science, and an NHS
funding system that enables upstream investment in prevention and new
ways of working, as demonstrated by this ground-breaking 100,000 Genomes
Rare diseases are uncommon but there are between 5000 - 8000 known
genetic disorders. Around three million people are affected by them,
half of these are children. When the Human Genome Project was undertaken
in the early 1990s, it took 13 years and over £2 billion to sequence the
first whole human genome. But now with advances in technology, the speed
and cost of sequencing a human genome has fallen dramatically.
Our understanding of how to use this information has also increased. We
still have a lot to learn, but these advances have opened up the
potential use of genomics medicine within mainstream healthcare.
Genomics England is a wholly owned by the Department of Health. It was
set up to deliver the 100,000 Genomes Project. This flagship project
will sequence 100,000 whole genomes from NHS patients by 2017.
Genomics England has four main aims:
Illumina Forward-Looking Statements
This release may contain forward looking statements that involve risks
and uncertainties. Important factors that could cause actual results to
differ materially from those in any forward-looking statements are
detailed in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission,
including our most recent filings on Forms 10-K and 10-Q, or in
information disclosed in public conference calls, the date and time of
which are released beforehand. We do not intend to update any
forward-looking statements after the date of this release.
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