Currently available human tumour cell line panels consist of a small number of lines in each lineage that generally fail to retain the phenotype of the original patient tumour. Here we develop a cell culture medium that enables us to routinely establish cell lines from diverse subtypes of human ovarian cancers with >95% efficiency. Importantly, the 25 new ovarian tumour cell lines described here retain the genomic landscape, histopathology and molecular features of the original tumours. Furthermore, the molecular profile and drug response of these cell lines correlate with distinct groups of primary tumours with different outcomes. Thus, tumour cell lines derived using this methodology represent a significantly improved platform to study human tumour pathophysiology and response to therapy.