AZ urges others to join genomic research consortium

AstraZeneca has launched a research collaboration with software company Repositive to help improve access to human genomic data for use in cancer studies.

The data provided will be from Patient Derived Xenografts (PDXs) and is aimed at streamlining the discovery of new cancer biomarkers and therapeutic drugs.

PDXs involve the implantation of cancerous tissue from a patient’s tumour into an immunodeficient mouse. The technique generates more directly translatable findings to a patient than traditional cell culturing techniques, as the cells maintain a structure more representative of the original source tumour.

Repositive’s current platform is designed to improve research collaboration through gathering extensive amounts of genomic data from various sources including the NCBI’s Genomics Expression Omnibus (GEO) and the European Bioinformatics Institute’s European Genome-phenome Archive (EGA). Users can search for specific genomic data and filter results as well as request data from its online community.

Fiona Nielsen, CEO of Repositive says users of the Repositive platform can quickly and easily access human genomic data from a wide range of sources, making it ideal for improving data discovery and access.

AZ and Repositive are now encouraging others to join the consortium, specifically members of the non-profit R&D coalition Pistoia Alliance. The consortium developed from an idea proposed to the Alliance which includes companies such as Pfizer, Novartis and Merck among others. The consortium is also encouraging academic partners to join the project.

Jonathan Dry, principal scientist at AstraZeneca Oncology iMed, emphasised the pre-competitive approach of the consortium, claiming that the resource will “increase the efficiency with which our scientists search the world’s providers of PDX models to find the best for their research.”

The new deal reflects a continuing trend for pharma partnerships with data management and analysis specialists. IBM have been the big players in driving technological innovation in pharma, teaming up with Pfizer in April to develop a Parkinson’s disease wearable and Valeant in May to develop an app to aid cataract surgeons.

Don't miss your daily pharmaphorum news.
SUBSCRIBE free here.