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Genomics across the Atlantic Genome BC signs MOU with Genomics England

Professor Mark Caufield - Chief Scientist of Genomics England and Dr. Alan Winters

Nick Maltby - General Counsel & Company Secretary, Prof. Mark Caufield - Chief Scientist of Genomics England, Dr. Alan Winters and Dr. Caroline Martin

London, UK- Genome British Columbia and Genomics England today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to pursue a bold initiative to improve diagnostic capability and outcomes for patients with cancer, rare diseases and infectious diseases. The two groups are working together with the ultimate goal of sharing and co-developing information and tools, and a mechanism for the international exchange of knowledge, data and materials in the field of genomics. 

The first phase of the MOU involves building expert working groups to expand and assess some of the best ideas, generate project candidates and harmonize data sharing tools and processes. The MOU also includes the establishment of cross-institutional teams to address the mutually identified priority areas of cancer, rare diseases and infectious diseases, and the enabling tool of bioinformatics. The collaboration will be managed through steering and working groups.

The second phase will roll out throughout 2016 and will include the launch of pilot projects in each strategic area. These projects will be monitored and reported upon to understand where hurdles are and where successes come from.

“This partnership is a complementary step in our Health Strategy and also supports objectives identified by BC’s Ministry of Health,” says Dr. Alan Winter, President & CEO of Genome BC. “Our belief is that this relationship will catalyze the development of new genomic cohorts that will ultimately drive change in healthcare systems, both at home and abroad, as personalized approaches to disease treatment in key areas is realized.”

Professor Mark Caulfield, Chief Scientist at Genomics England said “We are delighted to be creating this partnership with Genome British Columbia.  This will draw upon the experience of Genomics England gained in creating the 100,000 Genomes Project here in the UK and will focus on establishing a similar healthcare transformation in British Columbia. A measure of success of our mission will be whether we can convince similar healthcare systems around the world that the time is right to adopt approaches developed within the 100,000 Genomes Project to transform the application of genomic medicine in healthcare and bring better outcomes to patients worldwide.”

Genomics England, with the consent of participants and the support of the public, is creating a lasting legacy for patients, the National Health Service (NHS) and the UK economy, through the sequencing of 100,000 genomes. The 100,000 Genomes Project aims to create a new genomic medicine service for the NHS – transforming the way people are cared for. Patients may be offered a diagnosis where there wasn’t one before. In time, there is the potential of new and more effective treatments. This is currently the largest national sequencing effort of its kind in the world.

Genome BC is the catalyst for research and the application of genomics in BC. The organization brings together research partners and co-investors from industry, government and academia and supports world-class innovation that is relevant to BC’s key socio-economic sectors, attracts co-investment and engagement from other organizations, and maintains partnerships with a broad cross-section of provincial research institutions.


About Genome British Columbia:
Genome British Columbia is a catalyst for the life sciences cluster on Canada’s West Coast, and manages a cumulative portfolio of over $710M in 254 research projects and science and technology platforms. Working with governments, academia and industry across sectors such as forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, agri-food, energy and mining, environment, and human health, the goal of the organization is to generate social and economic benefits for British Columbia and Canada.

Genome BC is supported by the Province of British Columbia, the Government of Canada through Genome Canada and Western Economic Diversification Canada and more than 300 international public and private co-funding partners.

About Genomics England:
Genomics England is a company owned by the Department of Health and was set up to deliver the 100,000 Genomes Project.  This flagship project will sequence 100,000 whole genomes from NHS patients and their families by 2017.

Genomics England has four main aims:

  • to bring benefit to patients
  • to create an ethical and transparent programme based on consent 
  • to enable new scientific discovery and medical insights
  • to kickstart the development of a UK genomics industry

The project is focusing on patients with rare diseases, and their families, as well as patients with common cancers.

Jennifer Boon
Communications Manager, Sectors
Genome BC
Mobile: 778-327-8374  
#genomebc  @genomebc

Katrina Nevin-Ridley
Director of Communications
Phone: 0207 882 6493
@GenomicsEngland   #genomes100k