Indiana U, Regenstrief join forces with LifeOmic to create 'data commons' for genomics

The organizations will build a repository for precision and personalized medicine that they hope new startups will use to innovate.
By Tom Sullivan
11:58 AM

Indiana University School of Medicine

Indiana University and the Regenstrief Institute announced a collaboration with genomic data management company LifeOmic on Thursday. 

The deal comes amid new advances in genomics and precision medicine elsewhere in the healthcare industry. Startup 23andMe, for instance, late last week revealed that it raised $250 million with which it intends to expand its do-it-yourself genetic testing. And at the end of August, the U.S Food and Drug Administration made what it described as a historic move by approving the drug Kymriah for treating children and young adults with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

[Also: 23andMe lands $250 million to expand do-it-yourself genetics testing]

Saying the new arrangement will advance precision and personalized medicine, IU and Regenstrief gained a minority stake in LifeOmic in return for a license under which LifeOmic can access IU and Regenstrief intellectual property.

LifeOmic, IU and Regenstrief will build a “data commons” that houses genetic and other medical information in a single repository clinicians and researchers can tap into for precision and personalized care delivery.

[Also: In a precision medicine landmark, FDA approves first gene therapy]

Anantha Shekhar, MD, associate vice president of research for clinical affairs at IU School of Medicine said the university intends to create more partnerships with industry to eliminate traditional barriers to collaboration.  

“The problems and challenges we are facing in healthcare today are too big to be solved by any one institution,” Shekhar said. “To make progress, we must collaborate with other universities and with private industry across multiple fields.”

The organizations also hope the platform they build will foster an ecosystem of innovation, according to LifeOmic founder and CEO Don Brown, MD.

“We hope to see dozens of new companies spring up to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities ahead,” Brown said.

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