NIHR Cambridge & Lifebit to Launch Next-Gen Genomics Research Platform

3 minute read
Ingrid Knarston, PhD

Ingrid Knarston, PhD

NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre set to leverage Lifebit’s federated, cloud-based technology to ramp up collaboration capacity in genomics research.

Lifebit and the NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre (NIHR Cambridge BRC) today announce a long-term partnership where Lifebit’s technology will power a cloud-based Trusted Research Environment (TRE), termed CYNAPSE, to serve as the scalable and secure data management and analysis platform for NIHR Cambridge BRC researchers.

As one of the UK’s leading medical research organisations, the NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre maintains a secure, governed source of fully consented clinico-genomic data from participants with chronic diseases and cancer. This biomedical data holds huge potential to unlock discoveries on disease and provide direct benefits to patients, supporting recent breakthroughs such as the development of clinical algorithms to guide precision cancer treatments

The CYNAPSE platform, powered by Lifebit CloudOS, deployed on the client's newly setup AWS infrastructure will bring a next-generation computational infrastructure that will enable secure analysis of this clinico-genomic data in a system that is more scalable and flexible, and importantly, that allows a more collaborative research environment.

NIHR Cambridge BRC joins a growing number of research organisations and Governments who are standing up TREs that make use of Lifebit’s pioneering federated technology in order to make highly valuable biomedical data securely available for research. Examples include Genomics England and the Hong Kong Genome Institute. TREs are defined as secure spaces for researchers to access and analyse sensitive data collaboratively. With federated technology, researcher’s computation and analysis is taken to where the data resides, instead of moving data around – also allowing data to be analysed across multiple distinct and secure sites or TREs. This is increasingly being acknowledged as the essential architecture for health data platforms to be future-proof, given sensitive data should not be moved or pooled for regulatory or practical reasons. 

Crucially, with this federated TRE, NIHR Cambridge BRC research groups will be able to collaborate more effectively across both internal and external patient datasets and cohorts, paving the way for greater power in disease research. This news comes in the wake of an announcement on the DARE UK consortium effort between Genomics England, NIHR Cambridge BRC, Eastern AHSN, Cambridge University Health Partners and Lifebit that will see Lifebit’s unique federated technology bridge the TREs of these leading organisations, effectively building the largest cohort of sequenced tumour and normal tissue pairs worldwide.

“Lifebit is proud to be delivering this next generation federated research platform, which will allow NIHR Cambridge BRC researchers to more effectively collaborate at scale and drive a new wave of connected data here in the UK and globally, accelerating research impact and advancements in patient care.” said Thorben Seeger, Lifebit CBDO.


About Lifebit Biotech, Ltd.

Lifebit builds enterprise data platforms for use by organisations with complex and sensitive biomedical datasets. Lifebit’s patented federated technology securely unlocks access to biomedical data. From providing Trusted Research Environments for national precision medicine programmes to enabling pharmaceutical companies to discover new drug targets faster, Lifebit empowers customers to transform how they leverage sensitive biomedical data.

Lifebit press contact:


About NIHR

The mission of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is to improve the health and wealth of the nation through research. We do this by:

  • Funding high quality, timely research that benefits the NHS, public health and social care;
  • Investing in world-class expertise, facilities and a skilled delivery workforce to translate discoveries into improved treatments and services;
  • Partnering with patients, service users, carers and communities, improving the relevance, quality and impact of our research;
  • Attracting, training and supporting the best researchers to tackle complex health and social care challenges;
  • Collaborating with other public funders, charities and industry to help shape a cohesive and globally competitive research system;
  • Funding applied global health research and training to meet the needs of the poorest people in low and middle income countries.

NIHR is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. Its work in low and middle income countries is principally funded through UK Aid from the UK government.


About NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre

Based within the most outstanding NHS and University partnerships in the country, the Biomedical Research Centres are leaders in scientific translation. Located on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, they receive substantial levels of funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) to translate fundamental biomedical research into clinical research that benefits patients and they are early adopters of new treatments.

NIHR Cambridge BRC press contact: