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Genomics raises ?25m as it announces deal with US pharma giant

Oxford biotech Genomics has raised ?25m from investors and announced a collaboration with US pharmaceuticals giant Vertex that might eventually be worth tens of millions of pounds for the small UK genetics company.
Investors in this latest round of funding, which brings the total raised by the company so far to ?36m, include Woodford Investment Management, IP Group, Invesco Perpetual, Oxford Sciences Innovation and Vertex Pharmaceuticals, which invested ?10.5m.
Genomics was founded in 2014 by four of the country’s leading geneticists to find a way to use genetic information to improve drug development.
The company's algorithms process and analyse billions of sets of human genetic data collected from research studies around the world. The idea is that this tool gives scientists the ability to look at individuals from this database who happen to carry genetic characteristics which affect the same part of their biology as a drug, to really understand how the drug might affect the body.
Genomics raises ?25m as it announces deal with US pharma giant

Peter Donnelly, founder and CEO of Genomics
“Ninety per cent of drugs taken into clinical trials are unsuccessful,” said Professor Peter Donnelly, founder and chief executive of Genomics.
“One reason for failure rate is that our understanding of human biology isn’t good enough and that is where Genomics can help.
“If you are drug company and want to stop a disease by inhibiting say, a protein, we can use our technology to look for individuals who have a genetic variance that inhibits that same protein, a natural weak version of the drug if you like, and see what happens to them and say, if you inhibit that protein, these things will happen to them."
Genomics raises ?25m as it announces deal with US pharma giant

Genes hold the key to drug discovery
As part of the three-year collaboration with Vertex, Genomics will work alongside its scientists on a number of specific diseases to help find new drugs. It will earn payments when the drugs reach certain milestones, as well as royalties on any sales. Vertex has also paid Genomics a sign-up fee.
It’s the second such deal Genomics as sealed since its inception. The company is already working with US-based Biogen to help find the next big treatment for multiple sclerosis.
Pharmaceutical companies around the world have been making big investments in the fields of genetics and artificial intelligence to aid drug development in recent years, including GlaxoSmithKline and Amgen.
Prof Donnelly said Genomics was in discussions with several other pharmaceutical companies over potential deals and hopes to expand the company’s headcount from 40 to 60 within the next year.
“Over the past few years the nature of the dialogue with these companies has changed and they are realising the importance of genetics and have greater understanding and enthusiasm for that fact that it can provide a lot of benefits to them,” he said.  
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