Genomics England (GeL), the NHS-owned company that is charged with delivery of the UK’s 100,000 Genomes Project, is developing plans for commercial provision of DNA sequencing and annotation services, as set out when it launched (see previous news).
GeL intends to award contracts for these services over the next two years and is now seeking to ‘assess the quality of WGS and annotation providers’, offering human samples, which interested parties may receive and analyse before returning a sequencing report and related questionnaire. This process is intended to ‘inform the design of any subsequent tender for WGS or annotation’ and allow prospective providers to demonstrate their capabilities.
The samples provided will be ten of germline DNA and five of tumour DNA, reflecting the recent agreement with Cancer Research UK for sequencing of the first 3,000 patient and tumour genomes (see previous news). A second pilot is to examine the genomes from patients with rare diseases, and the project will also include the sequencing of the genomes of pathogens that cause human infectious diseases. These three areas are considered to have the greatest potential for immediate clinical impact of genome sequencing.
Contracts for suppliers are expected to be awarded by 13 December 2013; a tender for annotation services is to follow, and a special event for potential suppliers of annotation is to be held on 5th November.