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WuXi NextCODE Chosen To Support Singapore Precision Medicine Pilot



By Allison Proffitt 

January 5, 2017 | The National Heart Centre of Singapore (NHCS) has chosen WuXi NextCODE to support its 18-month proof-of-concept precision medicine project, focusing on cardiovascular disease.

The project is a first step in Singapore’s national precision medicine initiative. NHCS is working with SingHealth Duke-NUS PRISM, the institutional flagship program on Precision Medicine; and the IMDA, the driver of Singapore’s Smart Nation vision. WuXi NextCODE was chosen for the project after a competitive RFP process.

“They want to integrate both whole genome sequence data together with medical [data], and—what I found to be really interesting and what got us excited—wearables data as well. They’re sort of pushing the envelope on how you define the phenotype,” WuXi NextCODE’s COO, Hannes Smarason, told Bio-IT World.

The project will conduct whole genome sequencing on a cohort of cardiovascular patients and healthy controls. The exact number of patients for the project hasn’t been released, but Smarason expects it to be, “a few thousand” patients and controls.

Sequencing will take place locally—those service providers have not been announced—and then the data will go into the WuXi NextCODE system housed in AWS. Because Amazon has a datacenter in Singapore, the project can use the AWS cloud, but keep the data in country, Smarason said.

WuXi NextCODE will create an instantly searchable cloud-based enterprise data warehouse integrating large-scale whole genome sequence, medical, and wearables data. The WuXi NextCODE platform will also generate clinical reports offering actionable insights on different types of genetic risk, carrier status and drug response, with the aim of informing personalized health and wellness.

“Our focus is on the data handling—the organizing, mining, and sharing of the data,” Smarason explained.

He hopes that he first public results from the study will be available by the end of 2017. The pilot phase is slated to end in mid-2018. From there, the hope is that the proof-of-concept study will scale to larger research projects looking at novel genetic risk factors for heart disease in the Singapore and Southeast Asia populations more broadly, and other disease types.

The WuXi NextCODE platform is capable of scaling to hundreds of thousands of participants, and this is the sixth national-scale project the company has worked on. WuXi NextCODE is currently supporting national projects in Qatar, Genomics England, China, Ireland, and Iceland.

“NHCS is delighted to partner with IMDA and WuXi NextCODE in this pilot project,” commented Yeo Khung Keong, Senior Consultant, Department of Cardiology, National Heart Centre Singapore in a published statement. “We believe that the scientific and technical expertise that WuXi NextCODE provides will enable us to integrate precision medicine into clinical care and medical research. I am very much looking forward to this collaboration."

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