Tender opportunity: Genetic risk score services

News – 18 November 2021
Our Future Health is engaging with providers of bioinformatics and front-end services to calculate and communicate genetic risk scores (polygenic risk scores) and potentially other genetic information such as ancestry. Contracts relating to these services would be expected to begin in mid-2022.

Why are genetic risk scores important?

Our Future Health will be the UK’s largest ever health research programme, aiming to build a cohort of five million volunteers from all backgrounds and from right across the UK. Participants will be asked to complete an online questionnaire about their lifestyle and medical history and to provide a blood sample, from which DNA will be extracted and used to obtain genetic data.

We will use genetic data and other health information to calculate disease risk scores for participants in Our Future Health. Based on these risk profiles, it might be possible to better target people who are at higher risk of developing certain diseases. This will provide an opportunity to test the potential of new diagnostic tests or treatments as they are discovered and to see how effective they could be for people at higher risk of certain diseases.

This will also mean Our Future Health can facilitate research addressing important questions about the potential uses of genetic risk scores in health care.

Sharing genetic information with participants who consent

We will ask participants who consent to join Our Future Health to provide a blood sample from which DNA will be extracted and used to obtain genetic data. The genotyping service will, at peak, assay thousands of participants each week and return the resulting genetic data to Our Future Health for further processing.

Genetic risk scores are one of the most important outputs from this work, informing research and delivering personal feedback to participants about their own health, if they wish to receive it and give their consent. Careful consideration is being given to how personal genetic information will be offered to and results shared with these participants.

Genetic risk score market engagement topics

We expect genetic data to become available from mid-2022 and are now seeking to engage market providers of bioinformatics and front-end services to define requirements and capabilities relating to:

  • calculation of genetic risk scores (polygenic risk scores)
  • risk communication tools suitable for delivery of genetic risk score results to participants
  • genetic counselling or educational or other services suitable to support participants’ informed decision-making regarding genetic information
  • calculation and presentation of genetic ancestry

Quality control and imputation of genetic data will underpin the work to generate genetic risk scores and other genetic information, and we are also interested in engaging with market providers of these services.

For further information, please see the linked post, Tender opportunity: Genotyping data processing services.

Further details and webinar registration requirements

Our Future Health is the Contracting Authority and Akeso & Co are undertaking the procurement on our behalf.

For further details, please read the Prior Information Notice (PIN), and register your interest by email to OurFutureHealth@akesoco.com by Wednesday 1st December 2021 to be invited to the upcoming webinar on December 8th at 15.00-16.00 GMT.