Microsoft has taken a lead from its co-founder Bill Gates' philanthropic efforts. The computing giant is making its Azure cloud platform available to Ebola researchers who need help with the storage and analysis of data.
Faced with the challenge of how to handle data from the 100,000 exomes it intends to sequence, Regeneron has struck a deal with DNAnexus to access cloud-based infrastructure.The biotech is working with DNAnexus through the Regeneron Genetics Center it established for the sequencing project.
Accenture has joined with some big names for its R&D analytics platform. Eisai, Merck and Pfizer have signed up to collaborate on further development of the system, which is built on a mix of technologies from Accenture and Oracle.
With the security of Apple's cloud storage system under scrutiny following reports linking it to the leak of private photographs, the company has barred apps that store health information from using the platform. The stipulation is one of several made by Apple as it tries to expand into healthcare without creating privacy problems or angering regulators.
IBM has opened up its Watson supercomputer to drug researchers through a new cloud-based service. And Big Pharma companies are already on board, with Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi among the early adopters of the technology.
Intel has spent the past year adding tools for gathering and analyzing data, notably by taking a stake in Cloudera and buying Basis. And the strategy now has a major test case, with the Michael J. Fox Foundation teaming up with Intel to remotely monitor people with Parkinson's disease.
While service providers talk up the convenience and flexibility of moving to the cloud, pharma execs are as likely to flag up the litany of privacy, security and technical risks created by the transition.
Recognition of the insights hidden in genetic data and the difficulty in extracting them has prompted governments around the world to stump up cash for informatics projects. Canada is set to continue upping its investments in the field, with a cancer cloud-computing facility the latest project to secure financial backing.
While the red-hot biotech initial public offering (IPO) market has grabbed headlines over the past year, tech companies that service these businesses have also cashed in. IMS Health signaled its intent to hop aboard the bandwagon at the start of the year, and it is now reportedly weeks away from going public.
When IBM was preparing its artificial-intelligence program Watson to compete on the game show "Jeopardy!," it made the system read Wikipedia. The training worked and Watson beat its human competitors. Now IBM and the New York Genome Center are testing whether making Watson read PubMed can help defeat cancer.