Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

UK Unveils $523M Investment in 100,000 Genomes Project; Illumina is Key Partner

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – UK Prime Minster David Cameron today unveiled a £311 million ($523 million) investment package that includes a partnership between Genomics England and Illumina and will fund its national genome sequencing initiative, the 100,000 Genomes Project.

The UK created Genomics England as a company wholly owned by the Department of Health to oversee its effort to sequence and analyze the genomes of 100,000 people, a project that aims to advance the larger goal of integrating genomic medicine into the National Health Service.

Under the plan announced today, Illumina will receive £78 million to support Genomics England with whole genome sequencing services, infrastructure, and expertise. In turn, Illumina has pledged to invest £162 million into the work in England over a four-year period. As reported by GenomeWeb Daily News in early July, the UK chose Illumina to be its preferred partner in the 100,000 Genomes Project.

"As our plan becomes a reality, I believe we will be able to transform how devastating diseases are diagnosed and treated in the NHS and across the world, while supporting our best scientists and life science businesses to discover the next wonder drug or breakthrough technology," Cameron said in a statement.

"This is a momentous day for the UK to push the boundaries of medical science and create the first comprehensive national program for genomic healthcare," Illumina CEO Jay Flatley added.

Cameron also announced that The Wellcome Trust has agreed to spend £27 million on a genome sequencing hub to be located at its Genome Campus, near Cambridge, which will house Genomics England's operations.

The Medical Research Council has earmarked £24 million to provide computing services needed to analyze and interpret the genomic data the project generates. In addition, NHS England will contribute up to £20 million to fund the project, and it has already started the process of selecting the first NHS Genomics Medicine Centres, which will invite patients with cancer and rare diseases to have their genomics sequenced.

"This is a real milestone in turning this ambitious project into what we always intended, which is a world-leading project capable of delivering immense benefit to current and future patients," Genomics England Executive Chair John Chisholm said.

The 100,000 Genomes Project is currently in a pilot phase. The UK government expects to fully launch the project in 2015 and to complete sequencing of the 100,000 genomes by 2017.

The Scan

Machine Learning Helps ID Molecular Mechanisms of Pancreatic Islet Beta Cell Subtypes in Type 2 Diabetes

The approach helps overcome limitations of previous studies that had investigated the molecular mechanisms of pancreatic islet beta cells, the authors write in their Nature Genetics paper.

Culture-Based Methods, Shotgun Sequencing Reveal Transmission of Bifidobacterium Strains From Mothers to Infants

In a Nature Communications study, culture-based approaches along with shotgun sequencing give a better picture of the microbial strains transmitted from mothers to infants.

Microbial Communities Can Help Trees Adapt to Changing Climates

Tree seedlings that were inoculated with microbes from dry, warm, or cold sites could better survive drought, heat, and cold stress, according to a study in Science.

A Combination of Genetics and Environment Causes Cleft Lip

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers investigate what combination of genetic and environmental factors come into play to cause cleft lip/palate.