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UK Prime Minister Opens Hinxton Facility

Ceremony celebrates Illumina and 100,000 Genomes Project partnership

UK Prime Minister Opens Hinxton Facility
November 21, 2016

Illumina, Genomics England, and the Sanger Institute played host to the UK Prime Minister, Rt Hon Theresa May MP, at the opening of the Ogilvie Building on the Wellcome Genome Campus. The campus, at Hinxton near Cambridge, is home to some of the world’s foremost institutes and organisations in genomics and computational biology.

The Prime Minister Rt Hon Theresa May MP, said: “It is an honour to open these buildings as they truly represent cutting edge British science and business in the modern era. What I’ve seen on the Wellcome Genome Campus is an excellent example of research from across the UK and around the world coming together with commerce to deliver benefits for everybody including patients in the NHS. We want the UK to be the ‘go to’ place for scientists, innovators, businesses and investors. This really is a very good example of that.”

The Prime Minister also hosted a business round table attended by representatives from the life sciences and research-based pharmaceutical industries, which focused on the future of science in the UK.  

“It was an enormous pleasure to host the Prime Minister and demonstrate the importance of industrial partnership for patient outcomes and sustained change,” said David Bentley, DPhil FMedSci, Vice President and Chief Scientist, Illumina Inc. “With the building of our new headquarters for Europe, Middle East, and Africa at Granta Park, Cambridge, Illumina’s inward investment to the UK is set to continue along with our projects to support the NHS, and we have every confidence in the country’s unique position to be a leader in genomics in the forthcoming revolution in personalised medicine.”

The building where Illumina’s technology is powering the UK’s 100,000 Genomes Project is named after Bridget Ogilvie the Australian scientist who was Director of the Wellcome Trust.

Dr Dame Bridget Margaret Ogilvie, AC, DBE, FRS was introduced to the Prime Minster along with David Bentley and Sir John Chisholm, Executive Chair of Genomics England.  It was during Dame Bridget Ogilvie’s tenure, that Wellcome established the Sanger Institute and shaped its key role in the human genome project.

Sir John Chisholm, Executive Chairman of Genomics England said: “The UK is recognised across the world for being the first nation to introduce whole genome sequencing at scale in routine care environments. The Ogilvie facility is central to that achievement and opens the way to the virtuous circle of treating patients with genomic medicine leading to knowledge creation leading to advanced therapies leading to superior health outcomes.”

Professor Sir Mike Stratton, director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and chief executive of the Wellcome Genome Campus, said:  “Genomes and biodata are an important part of all our futures. The Campus is home to research institutes, spin-out and start-up companies, academic-industry partnerships and Genomics England; all dedicated to driving and leading pioneering research and innovation and discourse in the sphere of genomes and biodata. The new buildings mark the next major step in the progression of our vision for this Campus as a global hub for genomics and biodata. We have an ambition to translate and commercialise research findings, as well as inform and enable the NHS to integrate genomics into clinical care.”

In August 2014, Illumina, the UK, and the Wellcome Trust agreed to spend £311 million ($523.7 million) over four years to deliver on the UK government’s  promise to sequence 100,000 whole human genomes -  a project designed to catapult the UK to global leadership in genetic research into cancer and rare diseases.

Key to the world leading sequencing effort is the public-private partnership formed between Illumina and Genomics England—the entity created by the UK’s Department of Health to run the nation’s 100,000 Genomes Project. The 100,000 Genomes Project sequences the genomes of NHS patients with rare diseases and their families, as well as patients with common cancers.

Photo credit: Sanger Institute, Genome Research Limited.  Pictured from left to right: Professor Sir Mike Stratton, Director of the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and Chief Executive of the Wellcome Genome Campus, Sir John Chisholm, Executive Chairman of Genomics England, UK Prime Minister Rt Hon Theresa May MP, David Bentley, Vice President and Chief Scientist, Illumina, and Heidi Allen MP, South Cambridgeshire.

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