/ News

[Mar/Apr 2020] Industry news that captured our attention

New patient monitoring tool, Tech race to contain COVID-19, Pharmas working together to solve COVID-19, Embracing the Cloud, COVID-19 high-speed diagnostic test, Proving ROI from AI and Pistoia Alliance's updated UDM.

GE Healthcare and Microsoft are bringing a COVID-19 patient monitoring tool to health systems
From TechCrunch by Jonathon Shieber

TetraScience Take: This collaboration is a shining example of how a cloud-based platform brings agility and efficiency to a system. Originally planned as an on-prem installation, the onset of COVID-19 forced a cloud-based redesign to minimize time to deployment and allow for remote set-up. With this system, 3 senior nurses and 2 intensivists can closely monitor a 100-bed, multi-site ICU network, with reduced need to enter the patient rooms. It also "collects real-time data from ventilators, existing patient monitoring systems, electronic medical records, labs and other diagnostics into a single surveillance hub." All the data the healthcare practitioners need, at their fingertips, in a central location, easily accessible, so they can make important treatment decisions quickly. We believe that there are many opportunities to apply this same system thinking to the Digital Lab.

Excerpt: "GE Healthcare had originally intended to debut its Mural Virtual Care Solution at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society meeting earlier this year. When the COVID-19 epidemic scuttled those plans the company went redesigned the software offering — initially intended to be a new feature for its Edison platform — to focus on a COVID-19 application that could be distributed quickly to hospitals that need it using Microsoft’s Azure Cloud.

GE Healthcare and Microsoft are waiving everything but the installation costs for the software until January 2021, the companies said.

As Dr. David Rhew, the chief global medical officer of Microsoft noted, the remote monitoring tools could help hospital staff limit their exposure to infected patients and help conserve needed personal protective equipment." Full story

Data standards: the key to making the "lab of the future" dream a reality
From Manufacturing Chemist

TetraScience Take: By now, hopefully most people realize that the Digital Lab of the Future runs on data. From the data needed for AI, to the volume of data generated by lab automation and genomics, we are generating more data than ever before. Each vendor, lab, company, platform - you name it - uses their own data format, making the data standardization problem extremely complicated. However, it is also extremely important to solve to accelerate innovation. One option, as advocated here by our partner, the Pistoia Alliance, is creating a unified data model for all players to use. Another approach is using more of a universal adapter so that each vendor, company, platform, etc. can choose the data format that works for them. This universal adapter approach complements the use of standard data models for cross-collaboration.

Excerpt: ..."However, because AI relies on high quality data for accurate outcomes and predictions, industry wide data standards are essential if the LotF is going to bring tangible benefits.

LotF advancements mean more instrument and device data are being captured, which, alongside the interest in personal genomics and the digitisation of healthcare records, puts even greater demands on data sharing systems. Just last year, the US FDA warned that the discouragement of data sharing could hold back progress in clinical trials.

This has led many life science companies to build their own tools to manage and store data — but such tools don’t work in other organisations, stunting collaboration and therefore progress.

By contrast, there are many off-the-shelf tools from a range of vendors to choose from, but each of these also uses different formatting and storage methods.

And in life sciences R&D, no one can go it alone: to really make breakthroughs, collaboration and data sharing are key. Adopting an open, unified data format to help standardise data industry wide is critical – making data not only more discoverable and shareable, but tools interoperable." Full story

The Tech Race to Contain Covid-19
From DLD News

TetraScience Take: Current COVID-19 efforts demonstrate just how critical the Digital Lab and DataOps are towards solving health issues. This article outlines how several innovative technologies - devices that enable rapid testing, bluetooth + mobile enabled proximity tracing, 3D printing/additive manufacturing, quantum computing - are attacking the pandemic in various ways. The common thread among all the technologies is the generation and consumption of data, underscoring the need for advanced DataOps - interoperability, harmonization, and centralizing of data - so it can flow to the places, machines, and people who need it, all in real-time.

Excerpt: "Scientists and engineers are working around the clock to make the best of new technologies in fighting Covid-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 corinavirus. To save lives and contain the pandemic, the world needs faster testing, better tracking of infections and new drugs to cure patients and prevent others from falling ill. How can data analytics, automation and artificial intelligence help to speed up the search for solutions? Here’s an overview." Full story

Pharmas on one page with action plan to solve COVID-19 together
From Biocentury

TetraScience Take: It is exciting to see pharma companies working together to solve the COVID-19 crisis. Perhaps it will unlock new ways of permanently working together (pre-competitively) to attack ongoing research in many therapeutic areas? We hope so! More good data + better tools = faster actionable insights

Excerpt: "A grand-scale behind-the-scenes effort by the pharmaceutical companies is under way to expedite the creation of therapies and vaccines to treat COVID-19.

According to the participants who spoke with BioCentury under conditions of anonymity, R&D heads from at least 10 companies have been gathering several times a week, setting in motion an action plan to use their top talent in different disciplines to produce an industry-wide response, the likes of which haven’t been seen since the private sector’s coordinated contribution during World War II.

Regulatory heads and manufacturing heads have been holding meetings as well, coordinating to minimize duplication of effort, streamline work and advance efficient testing of compounds and vaccines.

The R&D group is creating working principles to accelerate new COVID-19 therapies and vaccines agnostic to their market potential, eliminating bureaucratic and technical or scientific barriers, and focusing on filling gaps not adequately filled by other initiatives and which the consortium is uniquely suited to address." Full article

COVID-19 and Remote Work - The Catalyst to Transform IT & Fully Embrace the Cloud
From AtScale, by AtScale CEO & TetraScience Board Member Chris Lynch

TetraScience Take: The current extended work from home, virtual learning, social distancing situation to combat COVID-19 is going to drive adoption and normalization of innovations like telehealth and virtual conferences that have been on the cusp for a while now. TetraScience board member and CEO of AtScale, Chris Lynch, also thinks this is the catalyst that will drive organizations to finally fully embrace the cloud. In his conversations with customers, it is interesting that the ones who have not yet embraced the cloud are struggling with the remote work situation, while those who were already using the cloud were able to adapt quickly. We see a parallel with life sciences R&D cloud adoption. With many scientists asked to work from home, they can't do experiments in the lab. But they can spend time analyzing their data...if they can access it.

Excerpt: "I’ve been hearing interesting perspectives on how COVID-19 is making some ongoing challenges even more relevant in recent days. Customers have been telling me about IT departments struggling to keep up with the infrastructure demands of having their entire workforce working remotely. I’ve even talked to people at Fortune 500 companies who are being asked to stagger the hours when employees work so they don’t overload their networks, VPNs and IT staff. Just this morning I spoke to a colleague at a Fortune 50 financial institution that informed their staff “they should consider the current remote work arrangement as not temporary, but business as usual for the foreseeable future, at least through the end of April”. We are all adapting to this mode of engagement, communication, work, etc.; yet one thing that will struggle to adapt is the traditional infrastructure and strategy around supporting distributed work forces.

Frankly though, I’m not hearing this from the subset of organizations that have moved to IT services in the cloud. They can adapt quickly because the cloud offers flexibility and economies of scale, both in resources and knowledge. Leveraging a dynamic ecosystem means that they can adapt quickly to uncertainty or new conditions." Full blog post

Send your N95 masks to healthcare workers who need them now.
From Mask Match

TetraScience Take: As the fight against COVID-19 rages on, our front-line healthcare workers are rapidly running out of critical supplies, like N95 and surgical masks. If you have any of these supplies in your lab or in your personal disaster preparedness kit, we urge you to please donate. Contact your local hospital, or work with a service like Mask Match.

Excerpt: "How it works: Mask Match is a peer-to-peer platform helping people with spare N95 masks send them directly to healthcare workers on the front lines who need them. Their lives (and our lives) depend on it.

Many hospitals have had to limit the number of masks healthcare workers can use because there isn’t enough. Many are forced to go without due to lack of supply. While factories are rushing to produce more, getting masks to people will take time that many healthcare workers don’t have.

If you are a healthcare worker, fill out the “I need masks” form so we know who you are and where we need to send your masks.

If you have masks, fill out the “I have masks” form, and we’ll email you with a healthcare worker match so you can ship your masks directly to them." Website

From Newsweek

TetraScience Take: Between this announcement, and the March 17 announcement that Moderna began phase one clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine, fellow MA life sciences firms are leading the way towards rapidly developing novel tools and treatments to help combat this pandemic. Let's all make sure we are taking the necessary precautions as well as pitching in however we can to assist them and all the healthcare practitioners on the front lines.

Excerpt: "Thermo Fisher Scientific spokesman Ron O'Brien told Newsweek that the company is planning to make enough kits to test up to five million people a week.

The company, which makes lab equipment, is selling two types of test kits. One has the capacity to diagnose up to 100 people and another that can diagnose as many as 1,000 people, he said.

"We plan to produce up to 5 million reactions per week. Each reaction has the potential to test one patient. The test will be available as part of a kit. Each kit can produce either 100 or 1000 reactions depending on the specific kit," he said.

He told The Boston Globe that hospitals and laboratories can order the test kits online immediately. They "should be able to start running the tests within a week," he added." Full story

4 Ways That You Can Prove ROI From AI
From Forbes

TetraScience Take: To be honest, we couldn't decide if this was a news story or just good content to recommend, so we've put it in both places. This is a great piece with actionable takeaways for anyone thinking about or executing an AI investment. The one thing that's missing is a recommendation to figure out your data strategy as part of the AI investment. Without an investment in data engineering, any data science or AI initiative will not thrive. Here's our full takeaway.

Excerpt: "...your access to data and your use of it is critical. The AI you implement is only as good as the fuel you give it. And that fuel is data. The Pistoia Alliance released a survey in 2019 that showed 52% of respondents cited insufficient access to data as one of biggest barriers to the adoption of AI." Full story

Pistoia Alliance provides unified data model update years in the making
From Manufacturing Chemist

TetraScience Take: A key component of the Digital Lab of the Future is data unification. Whether harmonizing the format or using semantics or NLP, if we can't align large sets of data, we can't use advanced analytics to dervice insights that will accelerate discovery and development of therapeutics. This is why we are proud to partner with the Pistoia Alliance and Allotrope Foundation, as well as other key players, to advance this important initiative, and provide a platform to make it happen.

Excerpt: "...The Pistoia Alliance, a global, not-for-profit alliance that works to lower barriers to innovation, has released its latest Unified Data Model (UDM) file format, supported by funding from Biovia, Elsevier, GSK, Novartis, and Roche.

The latest update of the UDM looks to primarily improve the semantics and validation of data. This is important in R&D when acronyms and words can be interchanged. Without alignment on terms and data models, great opportunities to see trends or wider patterns are missed.

Standardised harmonisation of data is especially important as increased adoption of AI, and machine and deep learning is being seen, which are reliant on high quality data to improve outcomes and predictions. To continue to improve alignment in the future, the Alliance is looking to work more closely with the Allotrope Foundation , to ensure the two systems are complementary and compatible." Full story

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