New genetics study will bring jobs to Dublin

Dublin-based Genomics Medicine Ireland (GMI) has announced a $400 million investment into a human genome project.

The Irish Times reports that with the investment, GMI will bring some 600 jobs to Ireland’s capital city over the next 5 years, adding to their current employee count of 125.

Read More: First genetic map of the people of Ireland

GMI is anticipating on hiring primarily from Irish colleges, or Irish emigrants who have returned to Ireland.

GMI expects to have sequenced 100,000 genomes from volunteers – both healthy and sick – within two years. It plans to target up to 60 major diseases in the research program.

“Speed is important here,” said Anne Jones, the newly appointed chief executive of GMI.

“It is a reasonable target and we have to be working to these targets because time to market is key for drug companies.”

Jones said the investment puts Ireland on course to become a global hub for genomics and the development of new disease treatments and cures.

As part of the investment, GMI hopes to map the genes of up to 1 in 10 Irish people as part of a private sector program. The research will be the building blocks of a database that will help drug companies better target treatments.

Read More: Irish DNA could help crack some of the world’s worst diseases

The Irish investment comes only shortly after it was announced that GMI would be acquired by WuXi Nextcode, Chinese genomics specialists who were involved in mapping the genetic makeup of both Iceland and Chinese city WuXi.

Rob Brainin, chief executive of WuXi Nextcode, said: “What we are able to do in conjunction with GMI is something that really will accelerate implementation of precision medicine into the healthcare system.”

“The challenge in Iceland was that there were not enough people with disease to be able to have a powered dataset whereas in Ireland it is big enough to have scale. Ireland presents a unique opportunity.”