Eric is currently Chief Science Officer at Datavant, an innovative new company with the mission to organize the worlds healthcare data. Eric is also Visiting Scientist in the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School and a frequent volunteer advisor to Médecins Sans Frontières and other international aid and relief NGOs. Most recently Eric was Senior Vice President and Head of the Takeda R&D Data Science Institute where he built an integrated institute of more than 165 multi-disciplinary data scientists serving all aspects of biopharmaceutical R&D and digital health. Read his full bio.

Interview with Eric Perakslis from Datavant

Q: What need is Datavant addressing?

A: While the volume of health data grows precipitously year over year, our ability to make use of that data is not keeping pace. There are many aspects to the inherent challenges and opportunities of this data explosion but of particular concern is the increased fragmentation. Each new clinical study, consortium and/or large federal grant inevitably creates a tailored knowledge base that, in effect, is the next data silo and the fragmentation compounds. We have a paper out this month in Nature Drug Discovery that calls for a much ‘bigger’ data approach to the massive unmet medical need of Alzheimers’ disease (AD) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29977050. In this paper we suggest that, to make progress in all the unknown aspects of AD, we must start by linking all existing AD data sets/sources and only add prospectively to this master linked source. It is not only doable, it is necessary.

A key challenge to this type of progress are the frictions that arise from the competing ideals, competing institutions, technology incompatibilities, the need for global ethics and IRB oversight etc. We can do ‘bigger data’ much better but still must protect patient privacy and to leverage past patient data to provide better care to future patients. We address this problem through offering a suite of software solutions that reduce the friction for sharing and de-siloing data across the industry all while protecting patient privacy.

Q: What are the products and/or services Datavant offers/develops to address this need? What makes Datavant unique?

A: I think it is our ambitions that make Datavant unique. We see a completely unmet set of opportunities in healthcare data that are essentially untouched. One way to visualize the opportunity are as the macro and micro silos of healthcare data. The micro silo problem is reasonably well understood. When people choose to work together and share data via consortia, grant or other data club, there are plenty of ways to do it. Good examples are Project DataSphere (https://projectdatasphere.org/projectdatasphere/html/home) or the extensive use of tranSMART (http://transmartfoundation.org/) by IMI consortia, both efforts we strongly endorse. But what about the macro silos?

The progress on Apple Healthkit is amazing, but my 70-year old mom cannot afford a thousand-dollar iPhone. Where is the Android version? That is a macro silo. More specifically to Datavant, there is the massive gap between drug development and medical practice. Those data exist in different regulatory regimes, in different types of institutions and are fire-walled against competition and re-use. What if every patient visit generated the equivalent of a case report form that could be submitted to the FDA. There has been great progress in real world data and evidence, but the macro silo remains untouched. Lastly, healthcare data is growing rapidly but is still a small percent of data that exists about each of us. There is great energy and promise in social determinants of health. How can the other 99% of data about us that exists outside of our medical records be used to improve and ensure our health?

Today, the core of Datavant’s offering is a on-premise software solution for de-identifying datasets in a manner that preserves the ability to link it to other data at the patient level. This enables our customers to stitch together de-identified datasets that come from a range of sources without compromising patient privacy. Datavant is also rolling out a new service which creates an ‘index’ of anonymous patients from participating data sources, offering a rapid means of identifying overlap (and therefore partnership opportunities) across multiple datasets.

Today, our services target the micro silo problem. As they evolve, our offerings will tackle the macro silo challenge.

Q: What is your role at Datavant and what excites you about your work?

A: As CSO, my role is to think deeply about the problems in healthcare and to help envision solutions that will enable and deliver transformational success for our partners in their data strategies. If I get that right, it automatically ensures innovative products and solutions for Datavant.

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Q: When thinking about Datavant and the domain Datavant is working in, what are some of the recent breakthroughs that are propelling the field forward and how will they impact healthcare?

A: We’re experiencing a moment where a large number of healthcare institutions and healthcare product companies are realizing that they are actually data companies at their core. Datavant offers a path to exploit these untapped aspects of their practices, businesses and research institutions. It is early days but, so far, our greatest accomplishments are the new data linking and privacy preserving capabilities we have brought to these organizations.

For me personally, it is the new and novel research studies and partnerships we have launched that, once complete, will demonstrate the value of thinking about and using data differently. Today, these are proprietary to our partners but they will be revealed in clinical study designs and new publications soon.

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Q: What are the short-term challenges that Datavant and its peers are facing?

A: Traditional thinking is always a barrier but also well worth the effort to overcome. This has been a core challenge to my change agent role in every position I have held. I actually love it. Well-intentioned but complex new regulation, such as GDPR has introduced a great deal of uncertainty for any party working with European datasets, though we expect that the path forward on this will become progressively clear in the future.

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Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with the PMWC audience?

A: Only that, if any of you have a really complex healthcare data challenge that appears to be a barrier that is preventing transformational progress or change, I would love to talk about it.

Cheers!

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Interview with Daniel Chen from IGM Biosciences

Q: Checkpoint inhibitors, particularly with PD-L1/PD-1 targeting agents, have benefited a broad range of patients with cancer. How will we improve on this?

A: It’s true that PD-L1/PD-1 inhibitors have led to durable responses in a subset of patients, and survival benefit in many of the patients treated- either as monotherapy or combination.

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Call from PMWC 2019 Silicon Valley Program Committee – We Must Accelerate and Deliver on the Promise of Precision Medicine

Precision medicine advancements are real as demonstrated by the high volume of molecular, “precise” drugs on the market, which are based on extensive molecular and translational understanding of the specific drug targets.

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#AI Play in Patient Diagnosis? How Can We Prepare the Next Generation to Make Sense of Enormous Amounts of Health-related Data?

What role should artificial intelligence play in patient diagnosis? How can we best prepare the next generation to make sense of enormous amounts of health-related data? These were just a few of the questions explored at the 15th Precision Medicine World Conference held at Duke University September 24-25, 2018.

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Interview with Daniella Beller, Manager, Maccabi Research Institute Biobank

Q: What makes the Maccabi Research Institute biobank unique?

A: To explain the uniqueness of the Maccabi Biobank (named “Tipa” in Hebrew which means “drop” or “just a little”), first you must know a little about Maccabi.

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Why We Need Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) To Foster Drug Discovery

Investments in pharma R&D has substantially increased over the last decades. Yet there appears to be no clear correlation to the number of newly approved drugs. This fact is accompanied by ever-increasing healthcare costs, fueled by an aging population and the parallel rise in the chronic disease burden.

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Precision Medicine: A Decade of Improving the Standard of Care

In January, PMWC will host its 2019 Silicon Valley event, the largest Precision Medicine conference in the world with over 2,500 attendees gathering at the Santa Clara Convention Center. We are humbled and honored to have reached this stage of growth and are looking forward to continuing our work with key stakeholders and decision makers across the industry to ever strengthen this forum for exchange of critical and timely topics, to move the field of precision medicine forward and to improve the Standard of Care.

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Interview with David Hong from Karius

Q: What need is Karius addressing?

A: Physicians often have difficulty pinpointing the exact pathogen that is causing disease. Conventional diagnostics like blood cultures or PCR can have poor sensitivity due to pretreatment with antibiotics, the breadth of potential pathogens present, and the requirement for invasive procedures to access deep-seated infections.

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Interview with Charles Jaffe, MD, PhD from HL7

Q: What need is HL7 addressing?

A: For more than three decades, HL7 has provided the platform to enable global health data interoperability. This is more important than ever, as the cost of healthcare has increased exponentially, and the complexity of clinical evidence has grown to an almost unmanageable state.

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Interview with Eden Haverfield from Invitae

Q: What need is Invitae addressing?

A: Our mission is to bring comprehensive genetic information into mainstream medical practice to improve the quality of healthcare for billions of people. Invitae is uniquely positioned to answer some of life’s most serious and complex questions with the highest quality genetics and at an affordable price.

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Call by Ralph Snyderman (Duke U.) for Big Changes to Get to the Next Level of Precision Medicine

Beyond next-generation gene sequencing and developing diagnostic tools and targeted therapies, theoverall approach to clinical care has to be re-envisioned to fulfill the promise of precision medicine. Care must move from sporadic treatment of episodic disease (a reactive mode) to predicting disease and then acting to prevent and mitigate it (a proactive mode).

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Interview with William Hearl From Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc.

Q: What need is Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc. addressing?

A: Immunomic Therapeutics’ nucleic acid vaccines have the potential to utilize the body’s natural biochemistry to develop a broad immune response, including antibody production, cytokine release and critical immunological memory.

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Interview with Ralph Snyderman from Duke University

Q: What are some of the critical contributions that academic institutions and medical centers are making to implement and accelerate precision medicine?

A: Over the past decade, the field of precision medicine has created technologies enabling far more personalized and effective health care delivery. Many of the most dramatic advances have come in the field of oncology but targeting care to the needs of the individual is rapidly achieving broader applications.

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Interview with Catherine Reinis Lucey from UCSF

Q: What research are you or your lab focusing on and why, and what problem(s) are you trying to solve?

A: My work involves designing, implementing and studying innovations in medical education that allow our medical schools to fulfill our social contract to improve the health of our communities and reduce the suffering of our patients.

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Interview with Gunnar Carlsson from Ayasdi

Q: What need is Ayasdi addressing?

A: Ayasdi is pioneering the application of artificial intelligence to value-based care by targeting two of the most complex problems in healthcare: population risk stratification and clinical variation management.

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Interview with Nikole Kimes from Siolta Therapeutics

Q: What need is Siolta Therapeutics addressing?

A: Chronic diseases, including inflammatory diseases such as asthma, now represent the leading cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide.

Read More
Johns Hopkins
University Of Michigan

The Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC), in its 16th installment, will take place in the Santa Clara Convention Center (Silicon Valley) on January 20-23, 2019. The program will traverse innovative technologies, thriving initiatives, and clinical case studies that enable the translation of precision medicine into direct improvements in health care. Conference attendees will have an opportunity to learn first-hand about the latest developments and advancements in precision medicine and cutting-edge new strategies and solutions that are changing how patients are treated.

Agenda highlights:

  • Five tracks will showcase sessions on the latest advancements in precision medicine which include, but are not limited to:
    • AI & Data Science Showcase
    • Clinical & Research Tools Showcase
    • Clinical Dx Showcase
    • Creating Clinical Value with Liquid Biopsy ctDNA, etc.
    • Digital Health/Health and Wellness
    • Digital Phenotyping
    • Diversity in Precision Medicine
    • Drug Development (PPPs)
    • Early Days of Life Sequencing
    • Emerging Technologies in PM
    • Emerging Therapeutic Showcase
    • FDA Efforts to Accelerate PM
    • Gene Editing
    • Genomic Profiling Showcase
    • Immunotherapy Sessions & Showcase
    • Implementation into Health Care Delivery
    • Large Scale Bio-data Resources to Support Drug Development (PPPs)
    • Microbial Profiling Showcase
    • Microbiome
    • Neoantigens
    • Next-Gen. Workforce of PM
    • Non-Clinical Services Showcase
    • Pharmacogenomics
    • Point-of Care Dx Platform
    • Precision Public Health
    • Rare Disease Diagnosis
    • Resilience
    • Robust Clinical Decision Support Tools
    • Wellness and Aging Showcase

Agenda highlights:

    • Five tracks will showcase sessions on the latest advancements in precision medicine which include, but are not limited to:
      • AI & Data Science Showcase
      • Clinical & Research Tools Showcase
      • Clinical Dx Showcase
      • Creating Clinical Value with Liquid Biopsy ctDNA, etc.
      • Digital Health/Health and Wellness
      • Digital Phenotyping
      • Diversity in Precision Medicine
      • Drug Development (PPPs)
      • Early Days of Life Sequencing
      • Emerging Technologies in PM
      • Emerging Therapeutic Showcase
      • FDA Efforts to Accelerate PM
      • Gene Editing / CRISPR
      • Genomic Profiling Showcase
      • Immunotherapy Sessions & Showcase
      • Implementation into Health Care Delivery
      • Large Scale Bio-data Resources to Support Drug Development (PPPs)
      • Microbial Profiling Showcase
      • Microbiome
      • Neoantigens
      • Next-Gen. Workforce of PM
      • Non-Clinical Services Showcase
      • Pharmacogenomics
      • Point-of Care Dx Platform
      • Precision Public Health
      • Rare Disease Diagnosis
      • Resilience
      • Robust Clinical Decision Support Tools
      • Wellness and Aging Showcase
  • Luminary and Pioneer Awards, honoring individuals who contributed, and continue to contribute, to the field of Precision Medicine
  • 2000+ multidisciplinary attendees, from across the entire spectrum of healthcare, representing different types of companies, technologies, and medical centers with leadership roles in precision medicine
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