Genomics Medicine Ireland (GMI) has secured Series A investment of $40 million (€36M) from sovereign and international investors including the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund, ARCH Venture Partners, Polaris Partners, and GV (formerly Google Ventures). The investment will be used to establish a world-class genomic research and development programme in Dublin and to create 150 highly-skilled jobs focussed on advanced genomic research over the next three years.
Making the announcement Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD said; “I’m delighted to welcome the announcement by Genomics Medicine Ireland of a new world-class Genomic R&D Centre that will involve the creation of 150 new highly-skilled jobs. I’m particularly pleased that the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund is supporting this exciting endeavour. When the Government established the ISIF, we wanted to encourage new investment and job creation across Ireland in groundbreaking new sectors such as next generation healthcare solutions. With the combination of world-class talent backed by global investors, I’ve no doubt that the scientific platform developed by Genomics Medicine Ireland will be leading the way on new prevention strategies and treatments for diseases and rare conditions.”
This investment will enable GMI to undertake comprehensive population-scale genome studies. These will improve understanding of the genetic and lifestyle factors involved in disease, contributing to better diagnostics, more targeted therapies, and more effective prevention and wellness. GMI expects to announce its first collaboration with an Irish hospital in the coming weeks and is actively engaged in talks with a number of clinical collaborators island wide.
Daniel Crowley, acting CEO of GMI said, “We look forward to working closely with the Irish healthcare system to develop better diagnostics and new means to optimise health and patient outcomes. The size and characteristics of the Irish population can powerfully advance scientific discovery as researchers are able to pinpoint variations in DNA relevant to disease and useful for improving medicine.”
Genomics Medicine Ireland is creating a scientific platform to examine the human genome in order to better understand the role of genetics in disease and rare conditions, and to lead to new prevention strategies and treatments. The company was founded in Ireland last year by a group of leading life science entrepreneurs, investors and researchers, and now includes, among its founders, Amgen. The GMI platform is based on the pioneering work of Amgen’s subsidiary, deCODE genetics, in Iceland, widely recognised as the birthplace of population genomics.
deCODE’s approach, led by its founder and CEO Dr. Kári Stefánsson, has proven that population genome studies offer an effective system for elucidating the underlying biology of major diseases and identifying new drug targets. The application in Ireland of the approach pioneered at deCODE will further broaden the power of this model to make and validate such discoveries and apply them to benefit patients.
The collection, management and analysis of genomic data will help drive development of novel therapeutic drugs and diagnostics in collaboration with leading academic and corporate partners. Ireland has a large and thriving pharmaceuticals sector, and GMI aims to apply and build on this expertise to open new avenues of innovation and value creation. GMI’s research has already been met with great enthusiasm by potential pharmaceutical partners.
Paul Thurk, Managing Director of ARCH Venture Partners Europe and Founding Director of GMI said, “We’ve seed-funded seminal genomics companies over the past 20 years, such as Illumina and deCODE genetics. GMI’s strong team and experienced partners, combined with Ireland’s very singular setting, can uniquely build off that core work to enable next generation medicine”
Paul Saunders, Head of Innovation with the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund said, “We are very proud to be able to support this exciting opportunity alongside international co-investors of the calibre of ARCH, Polaris and GV. GMI has the potential to play a significant role, in collaboration with the Irish healthcare system, in the identification of transformative treatments for a range of diseases that have eluded effective treatment to date. We look forward to GMI developing into a company of international significance and establishing Ireland as a global leader in precision medicine and next generation healthcare.”