Genomics England has named the winners of a competition to identify the best partners to help sequence and interpret 100,000 whole genomes from NHS patients in the UK.

The £300 million government project was unveiled last year and is a bid to gain a better understanding of cancer and infectious diseases, plus rare diseases. Genomics England sent ‘annotation assessment’ questionnaires to 28 potential service providers for the UK100K project to identify those that could most effectively find and interpret key genetic variants in respect of ten cancer/normal samples and fifteen rare disease trio samples.

The companies who have been selected to move to the next stage of evaluation as possible providers for the variant annotation and clinical interpretation element of the programme are Congenica, Diploid, Nantomics, Genomics Ltd, Illumina, Qiagen, Lockheed Martin, Nextcode, Omicia and Personalis.

Tim Hubbard, head of bioinformatics at Genomics England, said “this first assessment was extremely useful in determining the current capabilities of potential service providers. We anticipate continuous improvements in interpretation ability and will therefore be evaluating new and revised services” throughout the project.

Laura Furmanski, a senior vice president at Qiagen, said that “unlocking the full value of genomic data requires collaborations that bring together the best technology and minds from government, academic and commercial organisations”. She added that the UK100K project “is a shining example of what is possible when many great institutions and technology innovators combine forces to advance the vision of personalised medicine”.