U.K. heavyweights commit $16M to Oxford Uni genome data analysis spinout

Neil Woodford

Heavyweights of the United Kingdom biotech investing scene have backed Genomics, a spinout from the University of Oxford that is developing a genome data analysis platform. Genomics is working with unnamed pharmaceutical companies to apply the platform to drug development.

The $16.1 million (£10.3 million) investment from the likes of Invesco Perpetual, Lansdowne Partners and Woodford Investment Management gives Genomics the financial clout to push ahead with development of its platform. Prior to the investment, Genomics was funded by capital from the University of Oxford and academic commercialization specialist IP Group, plus grants from the Department of Health. Genomics received the grants as part of the 100,000 Genomes Project.

Genomics has said little publicly about its platform beyond a basic outline of its goal of enabling the analysis and interpretation of genome sequencing data. The startup has notable credentials, though. Professors Peter Donnelly and Gil McVean from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics developed the technology. And one of the founders of Oxford Nanopore Technologies--the company behind tiny sequencing devices--is the chair of Genomics.

The team and its technology have attracted the interest of some big names. Genomics England picked the company as one of 10 participants in the next round of its bioinformatics assessment, putting it alongside the likes of Illumina ($ILMN) and Qiagen ($QGEN). And the new investors include the fund set up by Neil Woodford, a man who has built a reputation as a close follower of the British biotech scene.

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