Top Stories of 2022: Sequencing, AI, and Creative Research
December 29, 2022 | Across the Bio-IT space this year, our top stories all focus on the new—new products, new sequencers, new chemistries, new research directions, and AI’s role in the future of precision medicine. It’s as if the industry as a whole is ready for something different.
New Products; New Efforts: Every year our annual Bio-IT World Innovative Practices Awards earn the community’s attention. In 2022, winners were profiled on the site as well as invited to speak at the Bio-IT World Conference & Expo. The winners this year included AstraZeneca’s Augmented Drug Design platform; Guardant Health’s natural language processing efforts with IQVIA, Merck’s big data platform for translational research powered by Genedata, and Quantum Leap Healthcare Collaborative’s automated integration of health records into Electronic Case Report Forms with the help of OpenClinica. (If you have a project of this caliber, enter for 2023! March 3 is the final deadline.)
Groundbreaking Sequencing: Euan Ashley’s group at Stanford set a new, astonishingly-high bar for clinical sequencing, sequencing a patient’s genome in five hours and two minutes on a PromethION platform from Oxford Nanopore. That was months before ONT joined the fall news cycle announcing its new sequencer (the PromethION 2 Solo sequencer) and a single read partnership with 10X Genomics.
At the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in January 2022, Illumina outlined its vision for long read technologies and new, faster chemistry. In October 2022, the company announced the NovaSeq X series of sequencers and their first FDA-regulated and CE-marked in vitro diagnostic high-throughput sequencer: NovaSeq 6000 Dx.
Finally—but not least of all—Pacific Biosciences launched both long- and short-read platforms. PacBio’s Onso short-read desktop system is expected to ship in the first half of 2023; they opened orders for the Revio HiFi long-read sequencing system in late October 2022.
The Truth About AI: Artificial intelligence is a still a broad enough term to fall all over the hype curve, so we’re eager to hear about real life examples and firsthand researcher experience. We delivered that in Trends from the Trenches conversations with Kim Branson of GlaxoSmithKline and Sean Liu of Novartis on how both big pharma are using AI in drug discovery. (The Trends from the Trenches podcast also launched in 2022. You can subscribe and catch up to be ready for our 2023 guests!) We also explored the topic at the 2022 Bio-IT World Conference & Expo with practical AI updates from NCI, The Ohio State University, the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, and more.
Creative Research: Our focus, though, wasn’t limited to new toys. We were also eager to hear about new research advancements shedding more light on human biology. With three years of Covid-19 research under our belts, some interesting parallels have begun to emerge between Covid-19 and chronic fatigue syndrome, spurring new research looking for links. A tumor microenvironment research focus looks to be making an impact on glioblastoma progression. The opportunities for biobatteries—recharged not from an outlet, but from the excess energy of our bodies—are nearly endless, teasing such applications as drug delivery, wound healing, continuous glucose monitoring, and more. And finally, research on the edges of mainstream biology is tackling aging and recruiting citizen scientists to help.