Vertex taps Genomics for target discovery help, makes investment | Digital Science

Vertex has joined with Genomics to use genetics and machine learning to improve . The partnership will leverage a platform that collates and analyzes genotype-phenotype studies to uncover insights into the underpinnings of disease.

Genomics was set up in 2014 when leading geneticists from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics pooled their expertise to address the analysis and interpretation of sequencing data. Two years later, Vertex burnished the startup's already-growing reputation by striking a deal to use its database and analysis tools to validate disease mechanisms.

Now, Vertex has tightened its ties to Genomics through a new agreement and equity investment. The deal will see Vertex work with Genomics to find and validate targets in certain, undisclosed diseases. Vertex has signed up to work with Genomics for three years, with an option to extend by two years.

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Over that time, Vertex hopes Genomics' analysis engine will power its R&D activities. The engine features 100 billion data points and links 14 million positions in the human genome to 7,000 molecular, cellular and physiological measurements and disease outcomes. Genomics claims that makes it the largest resource of its kind.

“This partnership will pioneer new uses of genomic tools and technologies to advance Vertex's ongoing work and investment at our Oxford Research Site and globally to bring new medicines to the patients that need them,” Vertex CSO David Altshuler, M.D., Ph.D., said in a statement.

Vertex has lined up a slate of milestones and royalties covering drugs that hit targets worked on in the collaboration, and made a £10.5 million ($13.7 million) equity investment in Genomics. The size of the investment makes Vertex the lead investor in Genomics' series B round.

Genomics also pulled in cash from IP Group, Woodford Investment Management, Invesco Perpetual, Oxford Sciences Innovation, Lansdowne Partners and Tanarra, bringing its total series B haul up to £25 million. The cash will enable Genomics to contribute to the Vertex collaboration while expanding its genomics platform and business.

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