Press release

FIND and partners call for big data infrastructure to support future of personalised medicine

  • FIND collaborated with the George Washington University, the US Food & Drug Administration, and other partners to enable standardized analysis and reporting of next-generation sequencing for precision medicine, potentially decreasing time and costs associated with sequencing workflow comparisons, reporting, and regulatory reviews
  • Article published in PLOS Biology

Geneva, Switzerland31 January 2019 – The Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) has collaborated with the George Washington University (GW), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other global partners to publish an article in PLOS Biology that describes a standardized communication method called BioCompute for researchers performing high-throughput sequencing (HTS), or next-generation sequencing (NGS).

NGS is a catalyst for diagnostics and personalized medicine inroads and has the potential to transform global health diagnostics and surveillance for drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). However, this new technology has outpaced the development of much-needed infrastructure around its use. Sequencing efforts at FIND are led by Dr Timothy Rodwell, Senior Scientific Officer, and Anita Suresh, Senior Technology & Business Development Officer. Both contributed to this important paper, which was led by first author Raja Mazumder, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular medicine at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences. The work showcases the ReSeqTB knowledgebase, jointly developed by FIND, C-Path and the World Health Organization, as a case study for the standardized BioCompute framework.

Dr Mazumder, colleagues at the FDA, and several industry leaders collaborated on the BioCompute Object Specification Project, which enables standardized reporting of genomic sequence data analysis and reporting. This project includes a framework, which facilitates communication and promotes interoperability. The standard is freely accessible as a GitHub organization.

FIND worked with GW to review and refine the ReSeqTB resource to enable standardized analysis and reporting for TB drug resistance.

“Robust data analysis is what drives precision medicine, and the initiatives discussed in this paper highlight the benefits of making information communicable, repeatable and reproducible, in both clinical and research settings,” said Catharina Boehme, CEO of FIND. “Application of NGS for drug-resistant TB is an important pathfinder for wider global health contexts.”

Enabling precision medicine via standard communication of HTS provenance analysis, and results, Gil Alterovitz et al, was published in PLOS Biology on 31 December 2018.

FIND’s contribution to this work was supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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About FIND
FIND is a global non-profit organization that drives innovation in the development and delivery of diagnostics to combat major diseases affecting the world’s poorest populations. Our work bridges R&D to access, overcoming scientific barriers to technology development; generating evidence for regulators and policy-makers; addressing market failures; and enabling accelerated uptake and access to diagnostics in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Since 2003, we have been instrumental in the delivery of 21 new diagnostic tools used in 150 LMICs. Over 50 million FIND-supported products have been provided to our target markets since the start of 2015. A WHO Collaborating Centre, we work with more than 200 academic, industry, governmental, and civil society partners worldwide, on over 70 active projects that cross six priority disease areas. FIND is committed to a future in which diagnostics underpin treatment decisions and provide the foundation for disease surveillance, control, and prevention. For more information, please visit www.finddx.org

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