Translation strategy

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute is dedicated to research using genome sequences in order to improve human health. To ensure that innovative and groundbreaking research and technologies are translated into resources that have the greatest impact in improving the health of the public and clinical care, the Institute has developed a Translation Strategy that informs its daily activities.

The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute Translation Strategy is designed to:

  • enhance the investigation and understanding of genomics throughout the world through rapid and open access to sequence data for the scientific community
  • enable research through the creation and supply of genomic technologies and resources that can be utilised by researchers
  • ensure that its findings have maximum impact in improving the health of the public and clinician care by delivering novel and best-of-class treatments and therapies
  • protect open access to genomic knowledge and discovery for the research community

Fast and open data access for the scientific community

The Sanger Institute is dedicated to furthering research around the world and works collaboratively with many academic and clinical institutions to provide valuable genomic data. The principle adopted by the Institute is that research data is of most use to the community if released as quickly as possible into the public domain.

The primary method for delivering this information is through the Institute's websites and databases. In 2001 the websites were getting an average of 300,000 web hits per week, by December 2004 this had increased to 8 million web hits each week. This enormous increase is a reflection of the success of the Institute in this aspect of translation.

This commitment to open access extends to providing data at all levels. Currently this includes sequence traces, assembled sequence and highly annotated curated databases of sequence and gene structures, such as Ensembl, and curated protein databases. The work continues apace and, in the future, will extend to image data of expression patterns of thousands of gene products and phenotypic data from thousands of mutant mice and zebrafish.

Creation and supply of genomic technologies and resources

The Sanger Institute has world-class genome sequencing and analysis capabilities that have enabled its researchers to discover and develop a number of technologies and resources that have the potential to benefit clinicians and researchers across the world. The Institute has freely contributed many of these to the research community. For example, a wide range of knock-out mouse embryonic stem cells and zebrafish resources are sent to universities and research centres around the globe.

To ensure that research materials are distributed widely to the research community, the Sanger Institute intends to use a combination of third-party organisations and in-house activity (with a suitable procedure of cost recovery) to distribute its materials. Agreements with third parties are structured to keep costs low for recipients while still making this commercially viable for a distributor.

The Institute's focus also means that there will be circumstances in which it lacks the in-house facilities to fully realise the potential of its findings to produce useable resources. In these instances, the Institute will call upon the assets and skills provided by industry, either in terms of production capacity or further funding.

Ensuring maximum impact in improving health

Another way that the Institute is seeking to ensure that its scientific results produce their maximal impact for human health is to facilitate the creation of start-up companies. A recent example is the development of the Kymouse model for producing novel humanised B-lymphocyte antibody therapies. By creating a company to hot-house the development of technologies and resultant therapies, the Institute has been able to combine Professor Bradley's knowledge and research with the skills and connections of industry leaders to deliver real-world treatments. In keeping with the Institute's core principles, the company will provide access to the antibodies and the mouse model to academic centres and clinicians.

Protecting discoveries and knowledge for researchers and delivering real-world results

Our strategy in translating our scientific findings will be to choose the route that maximises the benefit to human health. This may involve protecting intellectual property to develop licensing or partnership opportunities. By this means the Institute can ensure that these findings do not languish without active development.

Impact of the Translation Strategy

The Translation Strategy is designed to realise the potential of the Institute's research. The strategy will generate benefit to both the research community and clinicians by providing resources and data that otherwise would not be generated and ensuring that the Institute achieves clinical benefits from its discoveries.

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