Bryn Roberts - Roche
Digging into data to advance new cancer drugs
Global head of informatics in pharma research and early development, Roche
A massive surge of data from genomic studies has flooded the scientific landscape, including information on new potential genetic drivers of cancer. As Roche ($RHHBY), the world's largest cancer drug provider, ventures to extract knowledge from the data deluge, scientists rely heavily on advanced computational tools.
So Bryn Roberts, Roche's global informatics head, has a big job as the man in charge of equipping the company's pharma researchers with said tools--and not just for those focused on oncology but other disease areas as well.
Last year Roberts was in the spotlight for his leading role in providing informatics support for Roche's genomics work, involving a major cancer gene sequencing effort and analyzing hundreds of terabytes of data, Reuters reported. It's also stockpiling data from lab experiments to test compounds against certain cancer cells.
These studies hold high strategic value for the company because every other biopharma company wants to advance new genetic drugs against cancer, and lots of pharma rivals would love to knock Roche from the No. 1 spot. Yet only companies that make smart use of data from inside and outside of their labs have a shot to succeed.
Roberts has pushed for development of informatics tools to bring Roche scientists data from experiments of their colleagues and the rest of the research world. And he has talked up advances in cloud computing to support collaboration in the industry to solve big problems.
"The scale of the problem means the solution will be on an international collaborative scale," Roberts told Reuters.