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Queen’s University Belfast officially opens Precision Medicine Centre of Excellence

Queen’s University Belfast today (Wednesday 10 April) officially opened the Precision Medicine Centre of Excellence (PMC), which will radically change the landscape of modern medicine in Northern Ireland and beyond.

The PMC is a new laboratory based at Queen’s University Belfast campus, boasting state-of-the-art technology, which will bring together high-throughput genomics, artificial intelligence and big data analytics in a fully integrated fashion.

Professor Manuel Salto-Tellez said, “No longer a ‘one size fits all’, we have seen a major shift towards precision medicine in recent years, focusing on tailored treatment for patients.

“The Precision Medicine Centre of Excellence will provide the necessary infrastructure to meet the increasing demands in the changing field of healthcare and industry in terms of technologies and expertise. The PMC has the potential to boost regional and national biotech companies in the space of artificial intelligence and genomics, while improving the lives of oncology patients across Northern Ireland and beyond. Our long-term vision for precision cancer medicine is that the NI biomarker industry is a key player in making sure that all cancer patients have access to high-quality, comprehensive and timely molecular characterization of their tumour to inform therapeutic and clinical management.”

Precision Medicine Centre (PMC) is co-funded by Invest Northern Ireland, Queen’s University Belfast and the Health and Social Care Research and Development Division of the Public Health Agency. It has already attracted over £4m in funding to the local economy and employs nearly 30 data analysts and scientists.   

Speaking at the opening, Jeremy Fitch, Executive Director of Business Solutions, Invest NI said: “This Precision Medicine Centre will build on our internationally recognised excellence in oncology research and has a potential to generate licensing and collaborative deals with major pharmaceutical companies.

“The expertise and equipment at the Centre is already attracting the attention of overseas companies who are currently considering Belfast as their European location.

“The Centre will also be able to play a crucial role in future research to extend the use of precision medicine in other areas of healthcare.”

Dr Janice Bailie, Assistant Director at the Health and Social Care Research and Development Division said:  “I welcome the creation of the Precision Medicine Centre, which will be a pivotal part of the R&D infrastructure for Northern Ireland, bringing not only benefits in terms of growth of the local economy and new jobs, but most importantly, working towards the potential of precision medicine to create new diagnostics and treatments that will be more targeted to the benefit of individual patients.”

Invest NI offered £5.8m of support in 2017 towards the creation of the new centre.