Companies are beginning to tap big data to speed drug discovery
By Peter Winter
BioWorld Insight Editor
Biotechnology is no stranger to the creation and analysis of large amounts of data, whether it is “-omics” in nature or from patients in clinical trials. However, having access to masses of datasets is only a good starting point; sooner or later actionable information will need to be drawn from those resources.
That is why so much buzz has been created by the term “big data,” which encompasses a range of initiatives being created to develop new methods, tools and analytics, to take advantage of the very large, complex and diverse datasets being created from biomedical research.
A ‘ROAD MAP’ FOR DRUG DISCOVERY
Branford, Conn.,-based Bioxcel Corp. is working with industry partners to help improve upon its decision-making in drug discovery. The firm has developed a cloud-based big-data analytics platform, known as PharmGPS a disease area-focused, analytics engine encompassing all major and specialty therapeutic areas.
The platform draws together data and knowledge from the clinical and patient outcomes arena as well as the molecular research environment. Using a big data approach to those multiple, and often diverse datasets, key insights can be derived for the most appropriate drug discovery strategy.
Recently, the company introduced an orphan disease suite to aid in the discovery, development, licensing and commercialization of drugs for the approximately 7,000 rare and ultra-rare diseases that have been identified.
“We continue to innovate and expand the potential of PharmGPS to address the unmet medical needs of those with rare diseases,” Vimal Mehta, company chairman told BioWorld Insight. “We are providing access to this suite through a partnership model to design and develop breakthrough treatments.”
The company noted that less than 5 percent of rare diseases currently have effective treatments. Adding to the complexity is the fact that those diseases span multiple therapeutic areas. The firm’s underlying metadata and analytics for the gamut of orphan diseases, its 3,000 associated genes and hundreds of disease pathways related to therapeutic modality, is designed to address that complexity in a highly systematic manner and help partners explore innovative ideas and uncover valuable potential therapeutic approaches.