Precision Medicine Catapult names initial six centres of excellence in UK personalised medicine network


Teams are based in Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester and Oxford

The Precision Medicine Catapult, the UK's innovation centre for precision medicine, says Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester and Oxford will be the initial locations for its regional centres of excellence network.

Precision or personalised medicine uses diagnostic tests and data-based insights to understand a patient's disease more precisely and so select treatments with more predictable, safer, cost-effective outcomes.

Each centre will act as a hub for regional precision medicine activities within the network, co-ordinated from headquarters in Cambridge.

Established in April 2015 and funded by Innovate UK, the Precision Medicine Catapult is the UK's new national innovation centre for precision medicine. Its aim is to make the UK the most attractive place in the world in which to develop precision medicine test and therapies.

The centres will work on locally driven projects and use the Precision Medicine Catapult network to harness the breadth of UK expertise, developing innovative technologies and solutions for broader use across the UK’s healthcare sector.

A physical presence will be established at each centre, with local recruitment to build expert teams. The centres will collaborate with local, national and global stakeholders including government, academia, health systems and SMEs, with broad industry engagement to identify and resolve barriers to building a leading UK precision medicine industry.

Expertise in core areas such as data analytics, clinical trials, regulatory affairs and health economics will be based at the head office, along with business services.

Activities across all centres will include support of major clinical and data programmes, such as testing of new precision medicine-ready clinical trial models and the development of NHS adoption routes.

Development of new diagnostics, IT and e-health systems are also fundamental to the success of the UK’s precision medicine industry, and the Precision Medicine Catapult will work with government initiatives, industry and regulators to build the sector.

John McKinley, CEO of the Precision Medicine Catapult, said: 'We're delighted to announce the location of these centres of excellence, each with access to a unique blend of regional expertise. Project development work has been ongoing across the UK and we will be launching offices and related programmes over the coming months.'

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson in Glasgow to announce its selection by the Precision Medicine Catapult as one of its six centres of excellence

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson in Glasgow to announce its selection by the Precision Medicine Catapult as one of its six centres of excellence

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson, speaking in Glasgow, said: ‘The UK is a world leader in the life sciences and that’s in no small part thanks to innovative firms and academics across the country. As a One Nation Government we are committed to strengthening our capabilities in this crucial sector. These centres of excellence will join together a network of researchers to develop precision medicine technologies that will save lives and support growth in our world-class life science industry.’

Ruth McKernan, Innovate UK Chief Executive, added: 'It is important that we draw on the UK’s research and clinical expertise in precision medicine from across the country. Understanding which types of patients will benefit most from treatments requires effective use of diagnostic testing and data-based insights.

'The Precision Medicine Catapult’s reach to patients for clinical trials purposes will be enhanced through the national network of centres of excellence.'

The Scottish centre of excellence will be led by the University of Glasgow and the Scottish Government on behalf of the NHS Research Scotland, the Universities of Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen and industry partners Aridhia Informatics, ThermoFisher Scientific and Illumina.

The Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Health, Shona Robison, said: 'It is great news that Glasgow has been chosen as one of the regional centres of excellence for the Precision Medicine Catapult. Glasgow, and indeed Scotland, has a long established international reputation for innovation and world-leading research, with particular strengths and expertise in medicine and healthcare.

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'This decision demonstrates how the Scottish Government’s investment of £124m in our Innovation Centres attracts further funding from other sources. It adds to our potential to generate up to £1.5bn for our economy and support around 5,000 jobs.'