2018 will be a transformative year for UK healthcare as pioneering genomics companies identify people’s risk of disease and deliver more precise treatments, according to Sarah Haywood, CEO of MedCity.

Speaking at the Festival of Genomics in London, the CEO of the life sciences cluster organisation, will say that more efficient analysis of DNA is helping to better understand rare and inherited disease and transform drug development.

Off the back of this week’s news that Oxford Nanopore’s technique for gene sequencing has produced the most complete human genome ever assembled with a single technology, the CEO of MedCity said it’s down to the pioneering companies in the Golden Triangle that the UK is in the global spotlight.1

This is coupled with ‘world-first’ research projects including East London Genes & Health, which is conducting a long-term study of 100,000 Bangladeshi and Pakistani people to understand the nature of disease prevalent in this community. The region also 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.

Sarah Haywood, CEO, MedCity said:

“Better access to genomic data in the UK is translating into accurate diagnoses for people with rare and inherited diseases, faster drug development, and ultimately allowing patients greater access to more effective treatments.

“The £370 million of investment into genomics companies in Cambridge, London and Oxford over the last five years, plus our exceptional talent and dedicated facilities, is creating ground-breaking projects that are impacting not only on the UK, but going global.

“Companies such as Oxford Nanopore, GosGene and Congenica are developing truly innovative, more efficient genomics-based technologies in one of the best-equipped, most dynamic places to do so. This year is set to be transformative for patients with devastating diseases, as we identify people’s risk of disease and deliver more directed, precise healthcare.”‎

Key genomics companies in the region

  • Oxford Nanopore Technologies – University of Oxford spinout developed the world’s first and only nanopore DNA sequencer and recently used its mobile phone-sized device to sequence an entire human genome.
  • Congenica – Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute spinout’s technology, known as Sapientia, is used around the world to rapidly process and filter raw genomic data, along with extensive clinical information, to generate meaningful results that clinicians can use to diagnose and treat patients with inherited diseases.
  • Inivata – Cambridge-based clinical genomics company developed a cancer screening technique which circulates DNA analysis as an alternative to invasive biopsies offering a revolution in how cancer is detected, monitored and treated.
  • Genomics plc – Founded by world-leading scientists at the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics; Genomics plc has built one of the world’s largest and best curated databases of genomic and phenotypic information.
  • DNA Electronics – Imperial College London spinout developed breakthrough DNA analysis technology that can be used in hospital environments close to the point of need.

MedCity’s map of companies in the region – http://www.medcitymap.com/ – contains a searchable directory of the 3,500 life sciences and healthcare companies operating in the greater south east of England.


Notes to Editors

Notes to Editors 

  1. Oxford Nanopore, 30.01.18: “Most complete human genome assembly to date using single tech”: Nature Biotech paper from consortium of nine centres use Oxford Nanopore MinION to sequence human genome https://nanoporetech.com/about-us/news/most-complete-human-genome-assembly-date-using-single-tech-nature-biotech-paper
  2. MedCity and London & Partners has launched its ‘Genomics Revolution’ report today which showcases the companies and research institutions in the Golden Triangle of Cambridge, London and Oxford.