The genome data gathered in different research projects in Finland becomes easier to utilize. The Helsinki University Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM) implements technology by bioinformatics company BC Platforms; the technology makes it possible to integrate genome data to clinical patient data. This collaboration proves that Finland has cutting edge knowhow, entrepreneurship and strategic commitment on the national level to turn the visions of genomics into everyday tools for medical research and healthcare.
FIMM gathers genome data from different studies or projects carried out in Finland into a data pool. The solution by BC Platforms combines the gathered genome data with patient data, which enables the use of the genome sample collections in medical research. The data analysed in the solution is used to find new drug molecules and to study the efficacy and safety of existing ones. The solution enhances and simplifies the analysis of genome data making it available to more users.
”In the genomics world, Finland is a bigger player than its size would indicate. The genome data, our healthcare system built over decades, many epidemiological studies and the distinctive nature of our population put together form a platform for understanding disease and researching potential drug molecules. This creates new possibilities for genomics research and applications. The international pharmaceutical industry is interested in the Nordic countries and, in particular, Finland. The solution by BC Platforms is a tool for enhancing international collaboration,” says Professor Aarno Palotie.
BC Platforms’ solution is being used in research by top universities around the world. The majority of the company’s turnover comes from the United States.
”Our system was created when an American pharmaceutical company and Massachusetts Institute of Technology were looking for relevant data for their research and found Professor Leif Groop’s diabetes patient cohort from Swedish-speaking Ostrobothnia in Finland. One of the world’s first research projects studying the whole genome sprang to action. Our genome data integration solution was created for this project. In addition to research and development, we are investing in healthcare and industry solutions, but we are still firmly rooted in science,” says Timo Kanninen, BC Platforms’ CTO.
With genomics and big data becoming a part of everyday life, there is a transformation going on in the way research and drug development are conducted and healthcare services are produced. We are living in a time of change, not only in regard to people’s health but also to animal and plant breeding. Aarno Palotie hopes that Finland stays in the forefront of genomics even in the future.
“We are only taking the first steps on the path to increasing the application of data to healthcare. Developing these types of IT solutions will open up many new business opportunities. Hopefully Finland is able to seize them.”