Next generation molecular diagnostics business launches

Health Innovation Manchester and global partner QIAGEN announce ground-breaking new company to develop new tests for the prediction, prevention, and diagnosis of disease.

Manchester reinforced its place today as a leader in translating brilliant academic science into new products and services which will transform the future of medicine and maintenance of human health. At a ceremony in the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust/Manchester Science Partnerships Citylabs 1.0 building, partners launched ‘APIS Assay Technologies’, a new business dedicated to developing novel techniques (called biomarkers) for diagnosing disease and pinpointing the treatments which are right for each individual patient.

The initiative is the brainchild of global biotech company Qiagen, which has already announced a major expansion of its Manchester R&D hub, and Health Innovation Manchester, the partnership between the city region’s universities, health and care providers and funders which is working with industry to accelerate innovation to tackle Greater Manchester’s pressing health problems.  

APIS will be based in Citylabs 1.0, located on the main Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust campus alongside the Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine.

Manchester is at the forefront of precision healthcare and is fast becoming a global life sciences cluster, augmented by its uniquely devolved £6bn health and care system. The partnership will bring fast-tracked real health benefits to Greater Manchester’s citizens and people across the world through access to new tests and targeted treatments developed through pioneering research.

Rowena Burns, chair of Health Innovation Manchester, (pictured) said: “Greater Manchester’s vision is to create a globally-leading precision health campus for innovation, translational science and molecular diagnostics, employing up to 1,500 highly skilled people. Our partnership with QIAGEN underlines their role as the UK’s flagship industry partner and acts as a catalyst for Manchester to become a major hub for genomic research and industry in Europe.

“This is a major development for life sciences here – and across the North – and a testament to our long-standing history of forming public-private partnerships to support the creation of jobs, growth, address the health needs of local people, while also making an important international contribution to improved diagnosis and treatment of disease.”

APIS will help to realise the clinical and commercial potential of genomic medicine in diagnostic tests and personalisation of treatment, and in the prediction and prevention of disease. Using the transformational power of genomic medicine and big data, APIS will overcome the hurdles that have so far hampered these amazing scientific breakthroughs being developed into clinically approved tests and companion diagnostics which are in day to day use.

The company already has three tests in development, including for prognostic breast cancer diagnostics. There are plans to use insights gained in oncology to expand its diagnostics services to other disease areas such as liver and lung diseases, pharmacogenomics and non-invasive reproductive diagnostics, using advanced technology. The company is actively in talks with a number of pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies about establishing partnerships. 

APIS operates from Manchester’s £36 million precision health campus on the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust site, announced last year. The company already employs 26 scientists and analysts, with plans to expand to around 50 employees by end of the year.

Qiagen is a specialist in genomic medicine and molecular diagnostics, with an existing research and development centre in Manchester.  In 2020, the company’s Manchester business will take possession of Citylabs 2.0, a flagship facility on the Citylabs campus. HInM forecasts that the total campus will continue to develop as home to a vibrant community of large and small businesses, drawn by the adjoining centres of clinical and academic excellence, and providing up to 1500 highly skilled jobs.


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