Genomics Nation 2023: Report Says UK Genomics Holds Immense Promise and Is Undergoing Dynamic Growth

A report from the UK BioIndustry Association, the Wellcome Sanger Institute and Medicines Discovery Catapult

Today’s latest Genomics nation report shows the UK on the cusp of a new era in genomics, propelled by emerging technologies, investment, and a maturing industry ripe for growth.

Genomics nation 2023 analyses the evolving sector landscape, maps the innovative genomics companies at the cutting edge of science and innovation and highlights the UK’s strengths in the field. It also looks forward to how increasingly complex genomic data will be mined and used.

The theme of growth runs strongly throughout the report. Key findings include:

  • UK genomics is rich in academic expertise and pioneering SMEs, but to sustain its status as a genomics superpower, support for its SMEs to scale is crucial
  • The power of genomics will only be released through interdependence and collaboration with the (deep) tech sector
  • Access to consented data and opportunities to collaborate are essential ingredients for a thriving ecosystem
  • Cultivation of an investment-friendly nurturing environment is essential for sustainable growth of the wider UK genomics industry

The Genomics nation report is produced by the UK BioIndustry Association (BIA) in collaboration with the Wellcome Sanger Institute and Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC). It showcases the strengths and opportunities of this vibrant UK ecosystem of entrepreneurs, spin-outs and scale-ups.

This is the third in the series of Genomic nation reports that chart the sector’s growth. The 2021 report provided a benchmark, finding that UK genomics had a market cap of £5 billion, projected to reach £50 billion by 2040. In 2022, the second report demonstrated the relative youth of the sector, with half of companies at the early or seed stage, and identified the skill gaps that need to be filled for UK genomics to mature.

Professor Chris Molloy, CEO of Medicines Discovery Catapult, said: 

“The UK’s wealth of genomics data provides a foundation and fertiliser for an increasingly rich and diverse set of companies across data science, diagnostics and an increasing range of advanced drugs.

“Genomics nation 2023 calls out the need for easier access to this data for commercial SMEs, academics, and health researchers. Our SMEs are key to how innovation is delivered, pioneering new products, services, and assets that benefit us all. However, to seed and scale up, these young companies need help to gain easier commercial access to consented datasets.

“This report shares some notable progress, but without a faster flow of data, our ability to learn and use the language of biology will remain in academic cloisters whilst our global competitors march past us. If that happens, we have failed UK patients and our sector. We need an acceptance that commercial R&D is beneficial to patients and our bioeconomy, not an attempt to exploit something from them. We must work together to deliver smoother pathways to ethical data access for our innovators – all of whom are driven by a shared purpose.”

Steve Bates OBE, CEO of the BioIndustry Association, said:

“The UK’s dynamic genomics industry is thriving and stands to benefit both patients and taxpayers as it continues to grow. We possess a vibrant ecosystem of spin-outs, scale-ups, and SMEs that are developing and scaling innovations poised to enhance health and wellbeing, not just in the UK but worldwide. I hope this report helps demonstrate not only their strengths but also the strength of the UK ecosystem in which they are thriving.”

Emmanuelle Astoul, Head of Technology Translation at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, said:

“The UK is a trailblazer in the application of genomics, a lead built on visionary investment that established a strong science base here and enabled early links with the clinic. The ongoing dynamism of our genomic ecosystem, which creates and funds more genomics companies than anywhere else in Europe, is being powered by academic excellence, a unique health system, rich data resources and a genomic commercial sector that is reaching critical mass.”

You can view Genomics nation 2023 here >