The Frontline Genomics Festival is always a must-attend for Paramount Recruitment and this year’s UK event, held in January at the London Business Design Centre, was no exception. Paramount President Eugene McDaid attended the two-day conference and exhibition to catch up with clients and candidates – past and present – and to hear about all the latest developments shaping the future of the Genomics sector.
Here, Eugene gives his low down on the event and the companies and trends making waves in the UK Genomics industry:
Now in its third year, the London Festival of Genomics always attracts a big crowd and some of the most important movers and shakers in the industry, whether speaking, exhibiting or just visiting. It’s the ideal place for us to immerse ourselves in the industry and better understand how 2019 is going to shape up for our genomics clients and candidates.
This year, the hot topic was very much the use of genomics for early diagnosis. Following on from the announcement in January that genetic testing would be made available on the NHS as early as 2019, there were plenty of companies at the Festival keen to show off their technology and expertise in this area. While there are a lot of companies operating in this space, the increased competition is driving innovation and the creation of more cost-effective solutions for the NHS and private healthcare providers, which can only be a good thing.
To make genomic medicine a reality, quick and cost-effective genome mapping will be key and it’s an area where improvements are already being made. Oxford Nanopore were at the Festival to showcase their latest sequencing innovations – impressive advances that could help them chip away at the current market leader, Illumina. Definitely one to watch.
Also at the Festival were Genomics England. The organisation was there promoting the completion of the 100,000 Genomes Project, which Paramount was heavily involved with the recruitment for, and laying out its ambitions to collate 5 million genomes to assist in clinical decision making.
The work being carried out by Genomics England will be a valuable resource in the development of mainstream genomic medicine, particularly as it compliments other projects, such as CODE (Collaboration for Oncology Data in Europe) being carried out by IQVIA. Working in collaboration with treatment centres across Europe, CODE records genetic markers, treatments and outcomes for cancer patients to build a database of information that can be used by the oncology community to derive greater value from anti-cancer medicines for its patients.
In addition to the research organisations and biotechs, the Festival also attracted a few of the big pharma companies. Most say they are focusing their genomics-based R&D on finding drug targets and bringing products to market in a shorter time frame. This may mean we are seeing the end of the ‘blockbuster’ drugs that provide widespread treatments for a single disease, and witnessing the inception of treatments which are much more narrow in their intended target groups. This does however raise the question of how these more targeted drugs can generate the profits required for reinvestment in new treatments going forward.
From my experiences and interactions with other visitors and exhibitors at the Festival, the general mood in the genomics industry seems to be one of change. New start ups are coming through (as showcased in the ‘Live Lounge’ corner), strategic acquisitions are forging competitive alliances and there are increasingly more collaborations which allow organisations to invest in shared goals. It certainly promises to be an exciting year of growth and expansion.
For Paramount, the Festival was an opportunity to catch up with candidates and clients past and present, to see how they are getting on. Many of them came along to our second Genomics Festival networking event, which was attended by more than 80 invited guests. We managed to secure an impressive turnout of key industry figures and helped our guests to make meaningful connections on the night, oiling the wheels with drinks, nibbles and introductions. We look forward to seeing what collaborations and connections come to fruition from the event!
The Festival was also the launch pad for our Genomics Salary Survey 2019. An infographic of our top line findings was handed it out at the Festival, with the full version available soon. For more information or to download visit https://www.pararecruit.com/about/genomics-salary-survey/
If you are interested in speaking with one of our consultants to find out more about opportunities in the Genomics market or you are a client who needs to attract and retain staff, please get in touch.