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Nov 18, 2013

Berg, Icahn Partner to Leverage Big Data in Drug Development

  • Berg and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai announced yesterday a pharmaceutical and diagnostic R&D partnership that will leverage the power of multi-omic biology and data analytics. The aim of the partnership is to obtain novel insights and potential therapeutics for cancer, central nervous system, and endocrine disorders.

    Scheduled to remain in effect for five years, the partnership calls on Berg to leverage its Interrogative Biology platform. According to Berg, this platform integrates molecular data directly from a patient with clinical and demographic information to learn predictive patterns. For its part, Mount Sinai intends to apply its expertise in big data, advanced analytics, and biological network modeling.

    According to Berg and Mount Sinai, the partnership will adopt a risk-and-return sharing approach, with downstream royalties significantly higher than the industry standard for academia-pharma partnerships. "The partnership with Mount Sinai flips the traditional public-private partnership model," said Niven R. Narain, cofounder, president and CTO of Berg. "Innovation in the healthcare industry extends far beyond scientific and technological advances. In order to address some of the world's worst health crises, we need to be open to such new and innovative ways of working together."

    Commenting on the partnership, Eric Schadt, Ph.D., The Jean C. and James W. Crystal Professor of Genomics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and director of the Icahn Institute for Genomics and Multiscale Biology, said that Mount Sinai planned to work with Berg to create predictive models to “discern similarities and differences in disease patterns, identify the most effective treatment and diagnostics, and ultimately, provide better care for our patients.”

    Over the course of this partnership, Berg and Mount Sinai intend to engage in research projects involving the fields of genomics, proteomics, lipidomics, metabolomics, and functional phenotypes. The goal, say Berg and Mount Sinai, is to advance treatment options for cancer, CNS, and endocrine disorders. The partnership may yield other benefits, such as improved treatments for inflammation, obesity, and infectious and rare diseases. Additionally, the partners hope to develop diagnostic tools to improve pharmacovigilance, diagnosis of disease, and markers of therapeutic efficacy.

    The agreement was negotiated by Mount Sinai Innovation Partners, which encourages commercialization and partnership opportunities for novel research conducted at Mount Sinai.

    Earlier this year, Berg announced a partnership with the Department of Defense. The aim of this partnership, in which Berg's Interrogative Biology platform also figured, was formed with the aim of finding new treatments for prostate cancer.



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