(This press release was issued by Genomics Medicine Ireland (GMI) on Wednesday, 26 October 2016)
Dublin, October 26, 2016: Irish life-sciences startup, 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 today 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.”
About Genomics Medicine Ireland
Founded in 2015, Genomics Medicine Ireland (GMI) is an Irish life-sciences company leading large-scale, population-based genome research studies on the island of Ireland examining the relationship between genetics, health and disease. It is building a preeminent disease-specific database of population genomics. GMI works in collaboration with clinicians, patients, academic researchers and global biotech and pharmaceutical sectors to discover pathways to new treatments and new diagnostics for people both here in Ireland and around the world.
GMI’s partners include founding investors ARCH Venture Partners, Polaris Partners, GV (formerly Google Ventures), Maveron, and corporate partner Amgen. GMI has also formed a strategic partnership with global contract genomics organisation WuXi NextCODE, a spinoff of deCODE genetics. Collectively, they bring multi-decade experience in disease genomics to GMI. www.genomicsmed.ie
About ARCH Venture Partners
ARCH Venture Partners, one of the largest early stage technology venture firms in the U.S., invests in seed and early stage advanced technology companies. ARCH enjoys special recognition as a leader in the commercialisation of technologies developed at academic institutions, corporate research labs and national laboratories. ARCH has earned a reputation as one of the leading venture firms in early stage biotechnology, advanced materials, alternative energy, and specialty semiconductors, and is known for identifying and capitalising early on fundamental trends in disruptive technology. Now in its 30th year, ARCH has over $2.5 billion in committed capital through nine venture funds, and has co-founded and provided initial investments for over 200 companies, including Illumina, Juno Therapeutics, Receptos, Kythera Biopharmaceuticals, Ikaria, and Agios Pharmaceuticals. www.archventure.com
About Polaris Partners
Polaris Partners invests in exceptional technology and healthcare companies across all stages of their life cycles. With offices in Boston, San Francisco, and Dublin, we partner globally with an unparalleled network of repeat entrepreneurs, top scientists and emerging innovators who are making significant contributions in their fields and vastly improving the way in which we live and work. www.polarispartners.com.
About The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund
The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (€8.1 billion at end Sept. 2016) has a statutory mandate to invest on a commercial basis in a manner designed to support economic activity and employment in Ireland. The fund, which is controlled and managed by the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), has made investment commitments to date of €2.4 billion (including investments made by its predecessor, the National Pensions Reserve Fund). For more information about the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund and how it invests, visit www.isif.ie.
About GV (formerly Google Ventures)
GV provides seed, venture and growth stage funding to the most innovative and promising entrepreneurs across a variety of industries. Founded in 2009, GV has extensive entrepreneurial experience, deep technical knowledge, and expertise in building high growth, scalable products and companies. Among its 300+ investments are Uber, Flatiron Health, DocuSign, and Blue Bottle Coffee. GV is headquartered in Mountain View, Calif., with offices in Boston, New York, and London. For more information, please visit http://www.gv.com/.
About deCODE genetics
Based in Reykjavik, Iceland, deCODE genetics is a global leader in analysing and understanding the human genome. Using its unique expertise and population resources, deCODE genetics has discovered genetic risk factors for dozens of common diseases. The purpose of understanding the genetics of disease is to use that information to create new means of diagnosing, treating and preventing disease. deCODE genetics is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amgen. www.decode.com
About WuXi NextCODE
WuXi NextCODE is a fully integrated global contract genomics organisation. With offices in Shanghai; Kendall Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Reykjavik, Iceland, we offer comprehensive services that enable population, precision medicine, diagnostics and wellness initiatives and enterprises to use the genome to improve health around the world. Our capabilities span study design, sequencing, secondary analysis, storage, and interpretation and scalable analytics – all backed by the most proven and widely used technology for organising, mining and sharing genome sequence data. WuXi NextCODE is a subsidiary of WuXi AppTec. www.wuxinextcode.com
The Study of Genomics
Genomics is the study of all of a person’s genes (the genome), including the interactions of those genes with each other and the person’s environment. Genomics has a critical role to play in the identification, prevention and treatment of disease and rare conditions, including the scientific study of complex diseases such as heart disease, asthma, diabetes, and cancer because these diseases are typically caused more by a combination of genetic and environmental factors than by individual genes.