Genomics is the study of the complete set of DNA within an individual. Understanding the genetic make-up of an individual can help clinicians to understand an individual's predisposition toward certain genetic diseases and to tailor the best possible treatment, leading to the development of personalised or gene-targeted medicines.
The real promise of genomics research has only recently become apparent as a result of the huge decline in the cost of genome sequencing, large public sector and pharmaceutical investment and a commitment to explore changes in the way healthcare is delivered. It promises to change patients' lives and increase life expectancy in an increasingly challenging global economy.
In the UK the Department of Health has established a company, Genomics England, to deliver the 100,000 Genomes Project, currently the largest national sequencing project of its kind in the world.
The work has been contracted to 13 NHS Genomic Medicine Centres (GMCs), in partnership with Genomics England, Health Education England, Public Health England and the Department of Health.
The GMCs are working to lay the foundations for a personalised medicine service across the NHS – setting global standards for tumour DNA extraction, whole genome sequencing and its analysis. The aim is to create a new genomic medicine service for the NHS – transforming the way people are cared for. The predominant focus of the 100,000 Genomes Project is cancer and rare diseases.
The core sequencing work within the 100,000 Genomes project was awarded to one technology company, Illumina. It, along with other 'preferred' partners has been busy on this project until now.
However, whilst this work will continue, we believe that opportunity still exists, in the post sequencing research and product application work being performed within the 13 NHS Genomic Medicine Centres (GMCs); The accumulated eveidence demonstrates the wide range of skills necessary in this field from algorithm development to security and clinical application. The multidisciplinary approach to research and delivery of patient benefit creates significant research, medical and commercial opportunities.
Finnish companies, and owners of relevant intellectual property in Finland, may have an opportunity to collaborate with some of the 13 NHS Genomic Medicine Centres (GMCs) via their Clinical Interpretation Partnership (GECIP) domains.
These opportunities could be in the form of commercial collaboration or via inter-institutional collaborations for exploitation of IPR which may exist in UK or in Finland.