Genomics England partners with Inivata and Thermo Fisher Scientific to improve our understanding of cancer

Genomics England has announced a new industry collaboration with leading life sciences companies Inivata and Thermo Fisher Scientific to improve understanding of cancer. The pilot project aims to assess the quality of blood plasma samples and explore the potential of liquid biopsy testing to improve disease management and patient outcomes.

Genomics England’s industry partnership is the first step in a larger three-phase pilot that aims to evaluate the suitability of plasma samples for whole genome sequencing (WGS), assess the technologies available, and provide a proof of concept study using longitudinal samples (samples observed over a long period of time).

This first phase will see Inivata and Thermo Fisher Scientific analyse around 500 plasma samples donated by participants in Genomics England’s 100,000 Genomes Project. As well as determining the suitability of plasma, the study will focus on the use of liquid biopsy technologies to discover the mutations in the human genome that can lead to or demonstrate the presence of cancer.

Genomics England will share results with researchers in the UK and around the world − with the potential to develop less invasive sample collection techniques, more effective monitoring processes and, ultimately, better cancer care.

“Genomics England aims to translate the UK’s pioneering genomic research into routine care as quickly as possible − cutting the time it takes to turn a groundbreaking discovery into the diagnostics, treatments and medicines that patients need. Our partnership with Inivata and Thermo Fisher Scientific harnesses the expertise of two of the world’s leading genomics companies and will help us to achieve this hugely important goal,” Joanne Hackett, Chief Commercial Officer at Genomics England, said.

“As a company with a strong UK heritage, we are delighted to have partnered with the 100,000 Genomes Project − a world-leading initiative which is committed to keeping the UK at the forefront of medical innovation and care. This pilot study will enable us to combine our efforts through the sharing of insights and the assessment of how liquid biopsy products could ultimately transform cancer care within the NHS, saving lives and money,” Michael Stocum, Chief Executive Officer of Inivata, added. 

Joydeep Goswami, President of Clinical Next Generation Sequencing and Oncology of Thermo Fisher Scientific, said, “We are honoured for the opportunity to work alongside Genomics England in this important effort to better understand cancer using liquid biopsy. We are encouraged by this and other efforts across the globe, such as the Blood Profiling Atlas in Cancer Consortium, that are focused on advancing new testing approaches to help drive better health outcomes in the future.”