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Genomics England Taps Genomics Plc to Analyze Data for GENE Consortium

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Genomics England has tapped British bioinformatics firm Genomics plc to serve as its analysis partner for its Genomics Expert Network for Enterprises (GENE) consortium.

The GENE consortium is a partnership between academia, industry, and the UK National Health Service's genomic medicine centers that focuses on research into rare diseases and cancers. The consortium was established last year with participation from pharmaceutical companies such as Abbvie, AstraZeneca, Biogen, GlaxoSmithKine, Roche, Takeda, and UCB. The consortium will run a year-long industry trial to identify effective and secure ways of bringing industry expertise into the 100,000 Genomes project. So far, de-identified data from over 13,000 genomes are being made available to consortium participants to support their efforts to develop new diagnostics and treatments for patients.

As analysis partner for the consortium, Genomics plc will use its informatics platform to analyze genomic data and provide insights that will help inform pharmaceutical research and development investment decisions, the company said. Genomics plc's platform offers proprietary methods for whole genome analysis and for variant calling and interpretation. It includes a database of genetic and linked phenotypic data on almost 3 million individuals that integrates results from over 700 genetic studies and more than 500 phenotypes.

Genomics plc's platform supports customers such as the University of Oxford, which is using it in a collaboration to analyze genomic sequences in the context of rare diseases and cancer. The company also has a deal with Biogen to screen drug targets for the firm and one with Japanese pharma company Eisai to analyze multi-phenotype genetic association data for drug discovery research and development. 

"The use of human genetic data is increasingly recognized as a mechanism to transform productivity within the pharmaceutical and diagnostic research and development industry," Genomics plc CEO John Colenutt said in a statement. "We look forward to working with the GENE consortium, its members, and others within the sector to improve human health and reduce healthcare's economic burden."

Financial and other terms of the agreement were not disclosed.