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March 1, 2021

Genomics plc raises $30m for precision health tech

Oxford University spinout Genomics plc has raised $30m, which will help it begin acting as an NHS supplier for genomic health modelling technologies.

By Chloe Kent

The funding round was led by Foresite Capital and F-Prime Capital, while existing investors Oxford Sciences Innovation and Lansdowne Partners also participated.

The firm has developed a DNA-mapping technology designed to identify individuals at high risk of serious illnesses, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, who are currently overlooked by the healthcare system.

Genomics plc works out a person’s Polygenic Risk Score (PRS) by combining genetic information from a biological sample with other relevant risk factors such as biological sex and body mass index (BMI) score.

This metric allows a patient and their doctor to understand their individual risk of developing various conditions, allowing them to undertake targeted interventions and tailored screening to either prevent disease entirely, or to catch it early when outcomes remain favourable.

Genomics plc co-founder and CEO Professor Sir Peter Donnelly said: “We are delighted to be supported by leading life sciences investors who share our vision. We have known for over 50 years that genetics plays a key role in risk for all the common chronic diseases and cancers, and now we have a robust way to calculate that risk.

“This new approach to healthcare, called Genomic Prevention, can identify people at risk for developing each disease early, and is critical to driving more efficient screening and a prevention-first approach to healthcare. More successful disease prevention will improve patient lives and make healthcare systems more sustainable.”

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Genomics plc has also been involved with drug development projects, entering a three-year collaboration with Vertex Pharmaceuticals in 2018 to advance efforts in the development of transformative precision medicines.

In September the UK Government announced a new national genomic healthcare strategy called Genome UK, which seeks to offer patients personalised, predictive healthcare through advanced genome sequencing.

The strategy aims to make the country the world leader in genetics and genomics, harnessing the latest scientific and technological advances in the field.

The strategy builds on the UK Government’s existing ambition to analyse five million genomes in the UK by 2023/24, including sequencing 500,000 whole genomes through the NHS Genomic Medicine Service and another 500,000 through the UK Biobank.

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