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Genomics England Awards £8M in Grants to Five Companies

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Genomics England announced today that it has awarded £8 million ($12 million) in research grants to five companies developing technologies to enhance genome sequence data-analysis technologies.

The funding represents the second and final phase of a Small Business Research Initiative competition to promote the development of new technologies to advance the diagnostic application of genomic screening and help broaden the wider use of stratified medicine, according to Genomics England. Winners of the first round of funding were announced last May.     

“For widespread use of genome sequencing in routine healthcare the development of accurate and reliable interpretation software is critical," Tim Hubbard, head of genome analysis at Genomics England, said in a statement. "We are encouraged to see new and existing companies developing products and services in this space, building on UK academic research, in part stimulated though the existence of the Genomics England, the 100,000 Genomes Project, and this competition."                                                        

Companies receiving a share of the £8 million include Congenica, which is developing the Sapientia analytics platform for the identification, annotation, and interpretation of whole-genome DNA sequence data from patients with rare genetic disease; Genomics Ltd, which is creating statistical tools for population-scale clinical genome analysis; and Omixon UK, which is developing tools for human leukocyte antigen genotyping from next-generation sequencing (NGS) data.

Other award winners including Oxford Gene Technology, which said in a statement that it is receiving £1.2 million to develop software that will analyze NGS, Sanger sequencing, microarray, and FISH data; and Seven Bridges Genomics, which is receiving around £1.95 million to launch the world's first functional Graph Genome reference, a tool that clinicians will use to compare patient genomes to the population at large.

The funding amounts for the other companies were not disclosed.