Israel has become the latest country to disclose plans to create a population-scale database of linked genetic and clinical records. The current plan is reminiscent of the United Kingdom's 100,000 Genomes Project, with Israel considering working with tech firms to create a database of patients with rare genetic diseases.
The Allen Institute for Brain Science has released an online database of neuron cell types, building blocks it thinks will lead to the creation of computer models of healthy brains. Publication of the free database marks an important, early milestone for the research program triggered by a $300 million donation from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2012.
Bina Technologies has unveiled its first publicly known deal with a Big Pharma since it was bought by Roche. The agreement sees AstraZeneca tighten its ties to the genomic data analysis platform provider by becoming the first member of the Bina Alliance Program.
The World Health Organization has updated its position on the disclosure of clinical trial data. Having advocated greater use of registries back in 2005, WHO now wants to see the establishment of a more integrated IT system that includes data from new and old clinical trials.
A survey by analysts at William Blair has found that biopharma R&D staffers think making better use of existing data is their best hope of improving productivity. Almost half of the 133 respondents said the topic was the biggest remaining opportunity to improve R&D.
BioXcel has added another big name to its list of clients. Takeda is the latest company to sign up to work with BioXcel, a database-driven drug discovery shop that already boasts relationships with Alexion, Sanofi, Teva and Vertex.
Harvard geneticist George Church has backed Open Humans, an online platform that asks people to openly share their genomes and other personal data. The idea is to marry the underlying principles of the open-source and quantified-self movements to make more data available to more researchers.
Apple is giving researchers the power to turn its 700 million iPhone users into participants in massive virtual trials. And the approach is already proving effective, with an iPhone-powered study of Parkinson's disease smashing the previous enrollment record by recruiting 7,406 participants in six hours.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has put the establishment of a way to combine data from different sources at the top of its list of initial priorities for President Obama's precision medicine initiative. Such a system is essential if the NIH is to pull off its plan of making use of data generated by third parties.
Apple has begun staking its claim to be the de facto standard for remote data collection. The tech giant has reportedly kicked off pilot programs of its HealthKit service at many leading hospitals, positioning it to play a major role in remote patient monitoring for general care and clinical trials.