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UK To Become World Number One In DNA Testing With Plan To Revolutionise Fight Against Cancer And Rare Diseases

The UK is set to become the world leader in ground-breaking genetic research into cancer and rare diseases, which will transform how diseases are diagnosed and treated, thanks to a package of investment worth more than £300million, the Prime Minister will announce today.

The four year project will allow scientists to do pioneering new research to decode 100,000 human genomes - a patient's personal DNA code. The landmark project is on a scale not seen anywhere else in the world and is part of the Prime Minister's commitment to ensure the NHS as well as the UK's research and life science sector is at the forefront of global advances in modern medicine.

Sequencing the genome of a person with cancer or someone with a rare disease will help scientists and doctors understand how disease works. The project has the potential to transform the future of health care, with new and better tests, drugs and treatment. It is expected to provide a lifeline to thousands of families affected by rare genetic diseases and cancers.

The Prime Minister has pledged that the UK will map 100,000 human genomes by 2017.

Now, as world leading research organisations join forces, the 100,000 Genomes Project has reached a major milestone in a package of new investment.

The Prime Minister is today unveiling a new partnership between Genomics England and the company Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN) that will deliver infrastructure and expertise to turn the plan into reality. As part of this, Illumina's services for whole genome sequencing have been secured in a deal worth around £78million.

In turn, Illumina will invest around £162million into the work in England over four years, creating new knowledge and jobs in the field of genome sequencing. The investment will not only help the life science industry to thrive, but potentially create opportunities for talented UK scientists to lead the world. It will also pave the way for all NHS patients to eventually benefit from this exciting new technology.

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