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UK's Precision Medicine Innovation Center Launches National Network

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The Precision Medicine Catapult — UK's innovation hub aimed at accelerating the development of personalized drugs and tests — has launched its national network. 

"Partnering across the country is pivotal to the Precision Medicine Catapult's task of making the UK the most attractive place in the world in which to develop precision medicine tests and therapies," the group said in a statement.

The Precision Medicine Catapult will engage experts in the north and south of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales to drive advances in the field. The effort, which will be fully operational by the end of 2016 or in early 2017, will be headquartered in the Cambridge Biomedical Campus with John McKinley as CEO.

"Under the regional relationships in development … the Precision Medicine Catapult can tap into local expertise in the collection and analysis of clinical data at scale, testing and validation of new precision medicine-ready clinical trial models, and development of [National Health Service] adoption routes for precision medicine," the group stated. "Access to pathology expertise, facilities for the development of robust diagnostic tests clinically validated to NHS level and close links to leading diagnostic companies will also be important."

Innovate UK, the government's innovation agency, has awarded the Precision Medicine Catapult £50 million ($77.6 million) for the first five years. Launched in April, the national innovation center is developing plans for managing the bottlenecks to precision medicine products. The market for the space is currently estimated at £14 billion globally and is expected to reach £50 billion to £60 billion by 2020, the Precision Medicine Catapult said.  

In addition to the Precision Medicine Catapult, the government has also funded innovation centers for cell therapies and medicine technologies. "Together these three complementary Catapults should keep the UK at the forefront of a sector we have long excelled in and act as a magnet for inward investment," Innovate UK Chief Executive Ruth McKernan said in a statement.