Congenica, Omicia, Nanthealth, and WuXi NextCODE march on in Genomics England’s evaluation.

Genomics England have been pitting different systems for clinical interpretation against each other. From the 28 participants, only four remain.

Last Spring, the 28 competitors were sent genome data for 15 rare disease trio samples and 10 cancer/normal samples. Each group’s interpretation was then evaluated by Genomics England’s judging panel. From the original 28, only 10 made it through to the next stage.

Having successful demonstrated their suitability to provide clinical interpretation services, the 10 companies were invited to bid in the tender process for the next phase of the 100,000 Genomes Project – interpretation services for the first 8,000 patients being treated. Genomics England were looking for four companies to provide reports on 2,500 patients each. To provide a more robust basis for comparison between systems, some of the patients will be reported on by more than one group.

The results of the tender process were announced today:

Congenica and Omicia will be working on rare disease cases; Nanthealth will be working on cancer cases; with WuXi NextCODE working on both. All four will be required to provided services within the Genomics England data centre. Each company still has to agree terms and pass an initial test phase.

To make it this far in a 3rd party, head-to-head evaluation is a powerful testament to the effectiveness of the systems still in the running. Out of the four, WuXi NextCODE are coming out on top so far in terms of providing a complete service. While it’s only the next phase in the project for Genomics England, this is still quite an achievement by WuXi NextCODE.

“The results of the process announced today are an important validation of the uniquely broad power of our technology for applying genomic big data to healthcare,” said Hannes Smarason, cofounder and COO of WuXi NextCODE. “Our system is proven and in use in every facet of Genomics England’s activities – from diagnostics to population research and better drug development – and we look forward to putting the full range of our capabilities to work for them.”

After a year of learning and evaluation, Genomics England will look to contract for future requirements for clinical interpretation in early 2016. Whether they continue with a multi-vendor approach or not is likely to be influenced by their experience in this part of the project. As WuXiNextCODE are the only group in a position to force a single contract scenario, they’re in a strong position to establish the benchmark against which all others are going to be compared to.

Dr Augusto Rendon, Director of Bioinformatics at Genomics England commented, “This is an important milestone for the project. We are looking to provide high quality variant interpretation to assist clinicians within the NHS and these companies will enable us to deliver this service. We look forward to working with each of the successful companies over the next year.”