The Importance of Cross-industry Collaborations with Next Generation Biobanks

BC Platforms’ founder Dr. Timo Kanninen presents on this topic at the 1st Annual Well Aging Society Summit in Tokyo, Japan: 

Globally, our society is exhibiting a worrying trend of rapidly aging populations together with a declining birth rate. This effect has created a pressing need for collaboration in the healthcare and research spaces in order to make advances that will help mitigate this population shift. These industries are beginning to see the urgency for more open data sharing across institutions because scientists require access to unique data sets if they are to realize the promise that personalized healthcare may provide.

Japan, similar to many other societies, is experiencing this shift in demographics, which will place great financial and social burdens on its population. To advance research, the Japanese government is examining how to gain access to more global genetic datasets to add to projects within its university hospitals and biobanks. They hope to apply cutting edge data science techniques and establish a better understanding of precision healthcare. Specifically, the goal is to tap into a global network of biobank data and study different patient cohorts to make discoveries that help reduce the expected economic strain placed on the younger generation, having to support the larger ailing population.

This week, the 1st Annual Well Aging Society Summit was held in Tokyo, Japan to discuss these issues and their scientific context. BC Platforms’ founder Dr. Timo Kanninen presented at the meeting, discussing the ultimate goal of precision medicine: to individualize all aspects of care and provide the right treatment to the right patient at the right time. Currently, many widely used treatments only function for a fraction of patients, presenting a significant economic burden to most healthcare systems. Dr. Kanninen shared how BC platforms has set up a secure global network of biobanks that facilitates industry collaborations and advances R&D to meet the needs of a changing healthcare landscape. Interestingly, the idea of next generation biobanking originated with this concept of forming cross-industry partnerships and developing unique insights by combining existing rich data sources. This signifies a transition where many organizations have started looking to share their secondary data in collaborations with pharma. The end goal is to realize the full potential of powerful data sources and make more informed, targeted scientific discoveries. Teams of geneticists and data scientists working together are increasingly necessary to combine specialized skills and harmonize genomic data and clinical Real-World Data with the overall aim of enabling personalized health.

Dr. Kanninen also demonstrated BC Platforms’ GeneVision software application that facilitates the adoption of precision and preventive medicine at the population scale, either using low cost array or next-generation-sequencing genomic technology in the healthcare sphere. He explained how this software ingests raw data from genomic instruments, performs pre-processing and quality checking for clinical use, and feeds data to clinical reporting applications to provide insights for the physician finalizing the clinical report. In this way, BC Platforms’ all-in-one automated platform applies innovative data science capabilities and enables physicians to make recommendations for more individualized treatments.

In the context of the Japanese market, Dr. Kanninen expressed that in Japan he hopes to emulate the success of company projects at the University of Colorado in the US, one of the country’s leading translational research organizations. In this collaboration, BC Platforms is building a next-generation service platform with data from approximately 5 million patients, combining clinical and genomic information (genotyping). Overall, BC Platforms’ goal is to harmonize all types of data and apply them across the healthcare, research, and pharma industries to support precision medicine initiatives with a growing global biobank network and extensive data science capabilities.