State-backed Genomics Medicine Ireland reports almost €38m loss

23 Jan 2020246 Views

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In the same year it received $400m in funding, Genomics Medicine Ireland racked up a pre-tax loss.

Genomics Medicine Ireland (GMI) has posted its latest accounts, showing the company experienced a loss in 2018. According to The Irish Times, it made a pre-tax loss of €37.7m ($41.8m) compared with a €13.2m loss the year before.

In 2018, GMI was acquired by the US-headquartered genomics specialists WuXi NextCode, and secured $400m in funding for its aim to collect DNA data on a significant portion of the Irish population. This included State funding as part of the Irish Strategic Investment Fund – under the National Treasury Management Agency – along with other venture capital backers.

Over the course of that year, GMI achieved turnover of $11.6m, marking an increase of $1.12m on the year before. Additionally, the cost of sales rose from $7.5m to $19m and administrative expenses were up from $9.4m to $16m.

Gathering data

Based in Cherrywood, Co Dublin, the firm was founded in 2015 by life sciences entrepreneurs, investors and researchers. It is currently working on one of the world’s largest wholesale genome sequencing programmes, with plans to seek data from 400,000 volunteers – or one in every 10 people in Ireland – including patients with a range of common and rare diseases.

To that end, R&D costs totalled $13.5m in 2018, up from $8.8m the previous year. Staff numbers at the company totalled 69 by the end of the same year and was more than double the 2017 headcount. As part of its funding announcement, GMI had said it plans to create 600 jobs over a five-year period.

In 2019, it was revealed that the Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) was investigating complaints made against GMI over the way it gathers data, given the State is among its financial backers.

At the time, GMI said in a statement: “We welcome any recommendations the DPC may have to ensure we maintain best-in-class compliance standards in a complex regulatory environment.”

Updated 2.45pm, 24 January 2020: This article was amended to reflect GMI is a multinational company headquartered in the US and not a Chinese-owned company. 

Colm Gorey is a senior journalist with Siliconrepublic.com

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