Genomics Partnership Wales has been granted Welsh Government approval of a business case to develop a £15.3M state-of-the-art genomics facility at a site in the north of Cardiff.

This important decision supports Wales’ commitment to invest in a vibrant ecosystem of precision medicine research, innovation and national service development and delivers on a key investment objective laid out in Welsh Government’s Genomics for Precision Medicine Strategy.

Genomics Partnership Wales’ vision, “working together to harness the potential of genomics to improve the health, wealth and prosperity of the people of Wales” has been long been underpinned by the commitment to co-locate three key partner organisations; the All Wales Medical Genomics Service; Public Health Wales’ Pathogen Genomics Unit and Wales Gene Park, hosted by Cardiff University. This progressive model sees Wales become the first UK Nation to ensure that genomics can benefit from true integration; pooled resources, shared knowledge and expertise – to ensure that Wales’ genomic health and research provision is fit for the future. This will enable Wales to attract and retain the best minds and to build a truly resilient infrastructure that will support the rapid development anticipated in the field of precision medicine in the years to come.

The new development which sees the refurbishment of an existing building at Cardiff Edge Life Sciences Park (Coryton, Cardiff), has been co-designed by members of staff, patients and the public and will provide: a calm, welcoming environment for patients and their families, world-class microbiological containment and research laboratories, clinical space in the form of consulting rooms, seminar facilities, modern office spaces and areas that promote staff wellbeing.

The new facility will be a cornerstone of Wales’ precision medicine ambition, establishing Cardiff Edge as a co-productive environment between Industry and Academia and with the NHS at its heart. This will enable earlier detection of disease, prevent illness, prolong independence and improve access to clinical trials for people in Wales. It will also bring economic benefit to the population of Wales through investment and job creation.
The ambition and determination of the genomics community in Wales to do something different, bold and exciting together for the benefit of Wales, is what will continue to create opportunity, enable exciting collaboration and drive success in this rapidly evolving environment.

Eluned Morgan, Minister for Health and Social Services said:
“The new £15.3m invested will help to support a national focus on new services, new research studies and increased partnership interaction.
Wales has established itself at the forefront of genomics services and research and as a government we continue to invest in projects that are improving health outcomes, including developing new genetic tests for cancer services, the Wales Infants and Children’s Genome Service as well as the world-leading SARS-CoV-2 service.
Genomics Partnership Wales will very much build on this work through co-locating genomics disciplines at the new site, and I am excited to see what this partnership will deliver in the future.”

Len Richards, prior Cardiff and Vale UHB CEO and Senior Responsible Officer for GPW said:
“The exciting and ambitious vision is for Wales to become internationally recognised as a hot spot for precision medicine. Through creating an environment where a range of genomics expertise can freely collaborate, the workforce is nurtured, investment in translational research and new technology is prioritised, Wales stands to benefit from the potential for economic development and most importantly, world class genomics services for our population.”

Geoff Walsh, Director of Capital, Estates & Facilities at Cardiff & Vale University Health Board said:
“Working with so many dedicated people from across the Partnership has been inspiring. This development, which has been in the planning for a number of years, not only offers the opportunity for true integration of genomics expertise across multiple organisations, but will also ensure crucial capacity for growth and development of this exciting field of healthcare”.

To note, the Senior Responsible Officer role has now passed to Stuart Walker, interim CEO of CAV UHB, on an interim basis.