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Genomics Plc Raises £25M, Collaborates With Vertex on Precision Medicine

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Genome analysis company Genomics plc said today that it has closed a £25 million ($32.5 million) Series B funding round.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals led the round with a £10.5 million equity investment as part of a new, multiyear R&D partnership with Genomics. The IP Group, Woodford Investment Management, Invesco Perpetual, Oxford Sciences Innovation, Lansdowne Partners, and Tanarra also participated in the Series B.

The Vertex collaboration is a three-year project — with an option to extend to five years — to apply genetics and machine learning to help the pharma company identify new targets for precision medicines. Any novel targets identified through the collaboration will result in Vertex making additional milestone and royalty payments to Genomics, the companies said.

"Human biology and genetics are a foundation of drug discovery at Vertex and the team at Genomics brings together a unique combination of sophisticated data science and human genetics," Vertex CSO and research chief David Altshuler said in a statement. "This partnership will pioneer new uses of genomic tools and technologies to advance Vertex's ongoing work and investment … to bring new medicines to the patients that need them."

With the investment, Altshuler is joining the Genomics board of directors.

Oxford, England-based Genomics will lend to the effort its repository of more than 100 billion data points, as well as its machine learning and statistical algorithms, to help predict the efficacy of proposed therapies, according to the companies. Vertex is headquartered in Boston, but it has a research facility in Oxford.

"Our next generation of data and algorithms promises to be transformative, not just for target discovery, but in biomarker selection and patient stratification," said Genomics CEO Peter Donnelly.