2018 will be a transformative year for UK healthcare boosted by the completion of Genomics England’s 100,000 Genomes Project, according to Dr Eliot Forster.

Speaking at Biotech Showcase in San Francisco on Monday 8 January (22:00 GMT), Dr Forster, who is the CEO of Immunocore and Chair of MedCity, will say that knowledge of whole genome sequences will help identify changes in genes that cause cancers and rare diseases, helping pave the way for exciting new treatments.2

The Government’s Industrial Strategy has also put its weight behind the sector, working with big Pharma such as GSK and AstraZeneca on the national health resource, UK Biobank, and with the NHS to introduce whole genome sequencing, creating the largest repository of sequences aligned with clinical and lifelong data in the world.2

Dr Eliot Forster, Chair at MedCity and CEO of Immunocore, said:

“This year is set to be transformative for patients with devastating diseases, thanks to major projects such as the UK Biobank and the 100,000 Genomes Project, identifying people’s risk of disease and delivering more directed, precise healthcare.

“This is a huge opportunity for the NHS to combine genomic sequence data with medical records, to investigate cause, diagnosis and treatment of disease, and for industry to select the patients most likely to benefit from a particular treatment, allowing for more precise clinical trials.

“The UK’s genomics market value is nearing £1 billion, with 40% of companies based around Cambridge, London, and Oxford, reflecting the region’s renowned scientific research and hospitals, highly entrepreneurial mind-set, and deep translational expertise and infrastructure.

“The region holds world-leading institutes including Cambridge’s Sanger Institute, host to one of the largest sequencing facilities in Europe, and the Molecular Diagnostics Centre in Oxford, which has developed the first 50-gene cancer panel, allowing a single test to pick up mutations across many genes. With ground-breaking projects, talent, and substantial investment, I am confident that this year will put the UK’s Genomics sector in the global spotlight.”

Joanne Hackett, Chief Commercial Officer, Genomics England, said:

“Our mission is to create a place where researchers and industry can come to strengthen their research, enable new scientific discoveries, and ultimately bring benefit to patients. Over 2500 researchers, NHS clinicians and trainees have been assembled to tap into and analyse our data, open to eligible researchers from all over the world. The sequencing part of the 100,000 Genomes Project will be complete by the end of 2018 and we’re already seeing real patient benefit for those affected by rare diseases and cancers.

“This year will be a turning point for the UK as a globally significant genomics industry is emerging, with companies that are part of the Genomics England Discovery Forum pioneering data driven discoveries and developing treatments faster than ever before.”

Steve Bates, CEO, BioIndustry Association said:

“The UK has played a key role in the development of genomics since the first genome was sequenced by Fred Sanger in the 1970s, and a number of scientific and technological breakthroughs have taken place since.

“The UK is an attractive place for pharma and in vitro diagnostics industries to invest, with hubs bringing together scientific excellence for innovative genomic and biodata businesses. The UK continues to be a world leading centre for innovation with a strong pipeline, world leading universities, a vibrant financing community and top talent. I look forward to showcasing all that the UK has to offer at Biotech Showcase 2018.”

For further information contact Kim Watson, Communication Manager, MedCity, at kimwatson@medcityhq.com or on 0203 179 8100


Notes to Editors

  1. MedCity, Genomics England and the BioIndustry Association host a panel on Genomics and the Industrial Strategy at Biotech Showcase (a fringe event for J.P. Morgan Week) on Monday 8 January, along with speakers from Eagle Genomics, Congenica, Inivata, Seven Bridges and Cambridge Epigenetix: https://www.bioindustry.org/event-listing/sector-event-listing/biotech-showcase-2018.html
  2. Genomics England’s 100,000 Genomes Project is sequencing 100,000 genomes from around 70,000 people. Participants are NHS patients with a rare disease, plus their families, and patients with cancer. The aim is to create a new genomic medicine service for the NHS – transforming the way people are cared for. The sequencing of the genomes will be completed by the end of the year. https://www.genomicsengland.co.uk/the-100000-genomes-project/
  3. The Government’s Industrial Strategy Life Sciences Sector Deal: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/665452/life-sciences-sector-deal-web-ready-version.pdf