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AstraZeneca joins Genomics England consortium

Combines with other pharma firms such as Illumina to utilise genetic data to create new medicines

Test tube 

AstraZeneca has joined a public-private consortium with Genomics England to accelerate the development of new diagnostics and treatments arising from the 100,000 Genomes Project. 

The GENE Consortium (Genomics Network for Enterprises Consortium) is a unique partnership between industry, academia and the NHS Genomic Medicine Centres.

This aims to help transform treatment for patients with cancer and rare diseases, providing faster access to the right therapy and personalised healthcare, and boosting the UK economy and R&D capabilities. 

Under the collaboration, AstraZeneca and other industry partners will each contribute seed funding and scientists to work on the project. 

Consortium members will have access to information from 5,000 whole genomes collected from the first stage of the 100,000 Genomics Project in full compliance with data protection laws. 

NHS England announced late last year that it would create 11 new centres across the country that will lead the way in delivering on the UK's '100,000 Genomes Project'.

The project, first outlined by the Prime Minister David Cameron two years ago, aims to revolutionise diagnosis and treatment for patients with cancer and rare diseases.

Under its new collaboration with the project, AZ said it will “gain insights into the evolving area of genome science” with a view to “identifying new genes and biomarkers”, which could lead to the development of new diagnostics and treatments. It joins another of other firms, including Biogen and Illumina, who have signed up to the project.

Dr Mene Pangalos, executive VP of innovative medicines and early development, said: “We're excited to be involved in what is the largest genomics collaboration in the world. Our commitment to the 100,000 Genomes Project gives us the opportunity to work side by side with leading scientists from different disciplines to better understand how complex data coming out of the project can be converted into innovative treatments and diagnostics. 

“As the UK's leading pharmaceutical company in oncology, we are particularly looking forward to contributing our expertise in personalised healthcare and companion diagnostics to benefit patients and to further enhance the reputation of UK science around the world.”

Article by
Ben Adams

27th March 2015

From: Sales



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