Genomics England and Cambridge Cancer Genomics ( announce immunotherapy partnership

Partnership announced to improve access to, and the effectiveness of, immunotherapies in lung and colorectal cancers


CAMBRIDGE, United Kingdom, March 20, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Genomics England, the Department of Health and Social Care’s genomics spin-out, and Cambridge Cancer Genomics (, a precision AI platform company, announced today a broad partnership to improve UK-patient access to immune-system modulating cancer drugs (immunotherapies), monitor treatment effectiveness over time, and rapidly identify resistance to these drugs.

Immunotherapies are fast becoming one of our most effective tools to fight cancer, working by stimulating a patient’s immune system to attack cancer. By leveraging the immune system’s own precise, adaptive defences against tumours, immunotherapy has the potential to be a universal answer to cancer.

Building on the data from Genomics England’s 100,000 genomes project and’s expertise in AI-driven cancer diagnostics, a long term partnership between the two companies is announced today. This includes’s membership of Genomics England’s industry network (Discovery Forum), and a collaborative research project that has yielded a ‘sequencing-panel’ designed to cost-effectively profile overall tumour mutational burden (TMB), a measure that can help indicate response to immunotherapies.  The new panel also incorporates genes known to correlate with treatment response and treatment resistance to immuno-oncology drugs.

It is hoped that this sequencing panel will reduce the cost of assessing the effectiveness of immunotherapies. When twinned with’s ‘liquid biopsy’ technology - using AI to accurately analyse cancer tumour DNA in a blood sample - this panel could also allow TMB to be calculated from a patient's blood, and serial samples could tell an oncologist when a tumour is becoming resistant to immunotherapy. Stratification of responders and non-responders will also reduce the effective cost of immunotherapies and may increase access to this new drug class in the NHS.

   “Genomics England have set the standard for population-scale whole genome sequencing. are excited to help translate this formative work into clinical benefit for cancer patients.” -  Dr John Cassidy, CEO at   
 “Through genomic analysis of longitudinal liquid biopsy samples collected on a bi-weekly basis, we are able to detect the signals of resistance and relapse much earlier than standard of care. In this project, we hope to extend this technology to a new class of breakthrough cancer medicines.”  -  Dr Nirmesh Patel, CSO at 

The technologies involved in this project are fundamentally changing how we detect, treat and monitor cancer. 

   “Our partnership with is a perfect example of the value of the Genomics England Discovery Forum. The data and samples that have been donated by patients are being used to help innovative technologies improve healthcare in very real ways. It is exciting for us to see our Discovery Forum member organisations help return diagnoses to previously undiagnosed patients; explore the dataset to develop more effective therapies; and bring together exciting advances from different fields, like liquid biopsies and artificial intelligence, to build the next generation of diagnostic tools that will underpin precision medicine.   
 “Partnerships like this strike at three important priorities for Genomics England 1) The importance we place on acting in the best interest of our participants, 2) enabling innovative technologies to improve patient outcomes, and 3) helping the UK genomics industry grow.” - Joanne Hackett, Chief Commercial Officer at Genomics England 

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