In This Issue...

New York Genome Center to Test IBM's Watson's Personalized Medicine Capabilities

The New York Genome Center (NYGC) and IBM have launched an initiative to test a unique prototype of IBM's Watson cognitive system that is designed to help oncologists deliver more personalized care to cancer patients. Initially, NYGC and its medical partner institutions will evaluate Watson's ability to help oncologists treat patients with the aggressive brain cancer glioblastoma. Despite groundbreaking discoveries about the genetic drivers of cancers like glioblastoma, few patients benefit from personalized therapy because clinicians lack the tools and time required to tailor treatment to patients' individual cancer mutations. The joint NYGC Watson initiative aims to change this by speeding up the complex process of matching patients with DNA-based treatments. The new cloud-based Watson system will analyze genetic data along with comprehensive biomedical literature and drug databases, and is expected to dramatically reduce the time it takes to correlate an individual's genetic mutations with reams of medical literature, study findings, and therapeutic indications that may be relevant. Watson can also "learn" as it encounters new patient scenarios, and as new medical research, journal articles, and clinical studies become available.

"With this knowledge, doctors will be able to attack cancer and other devastating diseases with treatments that are tailored to the patient's and disease's own DNA profiles," said John E. Kelly III, PhD, senior vice president and director of IBM Research. "If successful, this will be a major transformation that will help improve the lives of millions of patients around the world."

Roche Buys IQuum, Signs New Contract With Hitachi

Roche has acquired IQuum, a company focused on developing point-of-care offerings for the molecular diagnostics market. The acquisition will provide Roche with access to IQuum's Laboratory-in-a-tube (Liat) System, which enables healthcare workers to perform rapid molecular diagnostic testing in a point-of-care setting with minimal training. The first test available on this system is the Liat Influenza A/B Assay. Under the terms of the agreement, Roche will pay IQuum shareholders $275 million upfront and up to $175 million in contingent product-related milestones, and will integrate IQuum into Roche Molecular Diagnostics.

In a separate deal, Roche has also signed a renewed 10-year contract with Hitachi High-Technologies Corporation for the joint development and manufacture of new instruments and workflow automation solutions for medical laboratories. The agreement follows a successful 36-year partnership that yielded a number of industry-first innovations in modular designed analyzer platforms and workflow automation instruments for the laboratory's serum work area.

Ventana to Develop Co-Diagnostic for Oncology Antibody Drug Conjugate

Ventana, a member of the Roche Group, and Genmab A/S have entered a partnership to develop companion diagnostics for Genmab's HuMax-TF-ADC antibody drug conjugate (ADC) program. ADCs are cytotoxic drugs linked with monoclonal antibodies that recognize surface proteins overexpressed by cancer cells. In the case of HuMax-TF-ADC, its antibody binds to tissue factor (TF). This targeting ability allows ADCs to deliver cancer drugs directly to the tumor. It also makes ADCs good candidates for co-development with the Ventana immunohistochemistry-based companion diagnostic assays that measure the tumor surface proteins or antigens that the ADCs recognize. As part of Ventana's collaboration with Genmab, Ventana will specifically contribute its expertise and services in the development of an immunohistochemistry companion diagnostic test for the detection of TF in patient tumor samples. The TF assay could then potentially be designated as the screening test in clinical trials involving HuMax-TF-ADC.

Beckman Coulter, to Offer Healthcare Cloud Technology

Beckman Coulter Diagnostics and have joined forces to provide laboratories with the technology to turn large amounts of clinical data into actionable insights. Under the terms of their partnership, the two companies will combine Beckman Coulter's clinical diagnostic systems with's software-as-a-service healthcare relationship cloud. This software solution helps laboratories gain real-time visibility into key metrics including test turnaround time (TAT), test utilization by provider, and productivity per lab operator. Additionally, the solution helps to identify important issues that require immediate action and alert laboratory management to issues that are most prevalent across the entire health system. "By leveraging's powerful software cloud solution, laboratories will be able to utilize and interpret more data than ever before to deliver a high level of performance to patients and providers," said Arnd Kaldowski, president of Beckman Coulter.

Beckman Coulter plans to offer as its exclusive healthcare relationship management solution to laboratories in North America.

M2Gen Joins ConvergeHealth's Personalized Oncology Consortium

M2Gen, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., has joined ConvergeHealth by Deloitte's real-world evidence and analytics consortium to help transform cancer care through the use of personalized medicine. As part of the consortium, which both Intermountain Healthcare and ConvergeHealth initiated, M2Gen will contribute to biomarker discovery, gene-based clinical trial matching, and real-world evidence generation to support the shift to personalized medicine in oncology. To do this, M2Gen will leverage the trove of oncology and personalized medicine insights it has gained through Moffitt Cancer Center's Total Cancer Care program. Patients in Total Cancer Care donate information and tissue that M2Gen then analyzes, building a repository of clinical and molecular data.

"Our Total Cancer Care protocol has transformed the approach through which data is collected and appropriately used to identify and bring new personalized treatment options to patients," said Bill Dalton, PhD, MD, CEO of M2Gen and director of the DeBartolo Family Personalized Medicine Institute at Moffitt Cancer Center. "We are thrilled to team with Deloitte to extend our reach and bring our combined analytics and collaborative study services to clients around the world. This will expand the studies we will conduct, bringing more therapies to market, and provide more studies to the health systems we serve."

Together, ConvergeHealth, M2Gen, and Deloitte will offer personalized medicine studies and real-world analytics services to life sciences organizations, study sponsors, and cancer centers worldwide.

SynapDx, Broad Institute Partner on Early Autism Detection

SynapDx Corporation has teamed up with the Broad Institute of Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to apply next generation sequencing (NGS) analysis to autism diagnostics. SynapDx is currently conducting one of the largest prospective, multi-center studies to analyze blood from children undergoing clinical evaluation for an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This collaboration will bring together scientists with leading expertise in computational biology and software engineering to develop advanced NGS analysis techniques that will further enhance test accuracy and clinical utility in the early detection of ASDs.