The genomics industry has formed a new alliance to strengthen collaboration, coordinate on key issues and realise opportunities for all Australians to benefit from precision healthcare.

The Industry Genomics Network Alliance (InGeNA) was launched today with 13 founding member companies in healthcare and life sciences who will collaborate on programs to embed genomics across Australian healthcare.

The contribution of the founding companies, from pathology, technology and biopharma sectors, are matched by funding of $300,000 from MTPConnect Australia’s Industry Growth Centre for the medical technology and pharmaceutical sector (MTP), an Australian Government initiative supported by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

InGeNA will be led by the Institute to undertake a targeted program of work to address a range of genomics opportunities and challenges from screening and testing through to treatment.

Projects include white papers, consultation and policy positions on key areas including access and equity, genetic screening, dynamic consent, workforce planning, and adoption of new drugs and novel medical technologies.

The collaborating partners are:

InGeNA has appointed Institute Fellow and digital health leader David Bunker as the inaugural Chair. David established Queensland Genomics and is currently Executive Director of Brisbane Diamantina Health Partners (BDHP).

David announced the new alliance today while addressing the inaugural Digital Health Institute Summit 2020.

“The possibilities for improving the quality of life for all Australians is within our reach. Globally, genomics is expanding at an exponential rate and it is estimated between 100 million and as many as 2 billion – human genomes could be sequenced by 2025,” David Bunker said.

“Genomics is already moving beyond the realm of testing for rare diseases. Already patients and health consumers are aware and demanding tailored diagnostics, screening and testing which will move healthcare more deeply into preventive medicine.

“We want Australians to have equity and access to the best that genomics can offer, now and in the future.  With industry collaboration through InGeNA, there will be a single voice to have input into strategic planning, governance and funding directions through government, research centres and consumer health,” he said.

Institute CEO Dr Louise Schaper said there was enormous scope for new skills and roles in genetic research, data science and precision health in both public and private sectors.

“Genomics as part of precision health is going to impact the profile of the health workforce over the next decade. We will need more training and expertise in genetic research, data science, programming, analytics and more.”

Dr Schaper said the Institute is supporting InGeNA to fill a need for a coordinated, united industry position, which will ultimately benefit all Australians and the funding awarded from MTPConnect will help to make this push possible.

“Genomics is the next wave of transformational change in healthcare and we need to be prepared to move quickly if we are to realise the potential of genomics in personalising healthcare,” she said.

Monica Ferrie, Chief Executive of Genetic Support Network of Victoria and founding member of the national GUARD Collaborative, (the coming together of peak state bodies and SWAN Australia representing people with genetic, undiagnosed and rare conditions and those who support them) has been representing the consumer and support sector as part of the InGeNA establishment team.

“Healthcare consumers, including people living with genetic, undiagnosed and rare conditions have long recognised industry as a key partner in precision healthcare. We are excited with the potential of InGeNA to bring hope and progress through collaboration and engagement with us to drive equity and access across the care continuum and genomic trials and research.”

“InGeNA will be a valuable partner to genomic research in Australia” said Tiffany Boughtwood, Manager of Australian Genomics. “Industry engagement and collaboration is critical for effective genomic uptake and implementation in healthcare – to translate genomic health research and innovation into more effective treatments and better patient outcomes”.

MTPConnect Managing Director and CEO Dr Dan Grant explained the importance of funding the initiative.

“MTPConnect’s Growth Centre funding awarded to the Digital Health Institute and consortium members to set up Australia’s first genomics industry alliance will help to boost the precision medicine sector in Australia.

“Technological advancement and growing demand are driving the rapid expansion of precision healthcare solutions, particularly in genomic technologies. Along with the $500 million investment from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) in the Genomics Health Futures Mission, Australia is well placed to use genomics to transform clinical medicine. This project will elevate and drive growth of this emerging industry sector in Australia. Congratulations to DHI and consortia members on securing this funding.”

Organisations who would like to join InGeNA or are interested in further information about the alliance are encouraged to contact the Institute.

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For more comments or to interview media spokesperson David Bunker, please contact Heather Hunt Communications Director AIDH on 0429 453306

About the Institute

The Australasian Institute of Digital Health is the peak body for digital health representing a united and influential single voice for health informatics and digital health leaders and practitioners.

The vision of the Institute is “healthier lives, digitally enabled”.  When you join as a Member or Fellow you are joining the movement to make individuals healthier and make a real difference to healthcare in the digital world.

Fellows and Members of the Institute represent health informaticians, clinicians, researchers, healthcare managers and executives, data analysts, designers, project managers, business analysts, technologists and innovators.

Special digital health interest areas include cybersecurity, clinical informatics, nursing informatics, health UX, digital hospitals and precision medicine.

As a leading member of the global health informatics and digital health community, the Institute is also the forum for sharing international best practice, digital healthcare trends and health system innovation.

About MTPConnect

Established in 2015 as an independent, not-for-profit organisation, MTPConnect is Australia’s Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals Industry Innovation Growth Centre, championing the growth of Australia’s vibrant MTP ecosystem.