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 of 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 Ken Bloom of Ambry Genetics

Q: Tell us more about your organization/company. What patient population are you serving and which services are you specializing in?

A: Ambry Genetics is a recognized leader in high quality complex genetic testing. We seek to find the genomic cause or contributors to rare diseases, abnormal phenotypes and hereditary disorders.

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Interview with Lee Pierce of Sirius Computer Solutions

Q: What is the state of big data and analytics in healthcare, and how to best use the reams of data available?

A: More than ever, Healthcare organizations are achieving measurable value through use of their data and analytics assets. There is more raw material available than ever to create value. This raw material is the data flowing from internal systems and applications and also from devices and systems external to healthcare organizations.

Read More

Interview with Anita Nelsen of PAREXEL

Q: There are various new, emerging technologies that bring us closer towards a cure for life-threatening disorders such as cancer, HIV, or Huntington’s disease. Prominent examples include the popular gene editing tool CRISPR or new and improved cell and gene therapies. By when can we expect these new technologies being part of routine clinical care?

A: Today’s emerging technologies are making the promise of individualized treatment a reality.

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Interview with Ilan Kirsch of Adaptive Biotechnologies

Q: The Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded recently to James Allison and Tasuku Honjo for their work on unleashing the body’s immune system to attack cancer, a breakthrough that has led to an entirely new class of drugs and brought lasting remissions to many patients who had run out of options. The Nobel committee hailed their accomplishments as establishing “an entirely new principle for cancer therapy.” What is your first-hand experience the impact that those new drugs had on patients?

A: For decades cancer was viewed as solely a cell-autonomous condition.

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BMS buys Celgene | Lilly buys Loxo Oncology – Does this Signal a Return to Strong Deal-Making Activities in 2019?

Bristol-Myers Squibb’s blockbuster $74B deal to buy Celgene creates an oncology powerhouse amid industrywide excitement about the rapidly evolving science and explosive growth of the sector. The agreement could signal a return to deal-making for the pharmaceutical industry in the $133B global oncology therapeutics market.

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Interview with Gini Deshpande of NuMedii

Q: What need is NuMedii addressing?

A: NuMedii, has been pioneering the use of Big Data, artificial intelligence (AI) and systems biology since 2010 to accelerate the discovery of precision therapies to address high unmet medical needs. Artificial Intelligence approaches are a natural fit to harness Big Data as they provide a framework to ‘train’ computers to recognize patterns and sift through vast amounts of new and existing genomic

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Interview with Minnie Sarwal of UCSF

Q: Genomic medicine is entering more hospitals and bringing with it non-invasive technology that can be used to better target and treat diseases. What are some key milestones that contributed to this trend?

A: Completion of complete sequence data from the human genome project, and the advances in proteomic, microRNA and epigenetic assays added a layer of pathway biology to the understanding of human diseases.

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Interview with Shidong Jia of Predicine

Q: Once sequencing has been validated as a clinical solution via trusted workflows, and coinciding with the technological developments driving costs lower, we can expect accelerated human genome profiling for clinical Dx. How soon, do you think, will we see accelerated growth and what can we expect?

A: We will see accelerated human genome profiling for clinical Dx in 2019 and the coming years as more biomarker-based cancer drugs are gaining approval.

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Interview with Iya Khalil of GNS Healthcare

Q: Artificial intelligence (AI) techniques have sent vast waves across healthcare, even fueling an active discussion of whether AI doctors will eventually replace human physicians in the future. Do you believe that human physicians will be replaced by machines in the foreseeable future? What are your thoughts?

A: I think that there’s a lot of speculation and uncertainty around AI, but I don’t foresee a time when we won’t need physicians.

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Interview with Ilya Michael Rachman of Immix Biopharma Inc.

Q: The Nobel Price in Medicine was awarded recently to James Allison and Tasuku for their work on unleashing the body’s immune system to attack cancer, a breakthrough that has led to an entirely new class of drugs and brought lasting remissions to many patients who had run out of options. The Nobel committee hailed their accomplishments as establishing “an entirely new principle for cancer therapy.” Besides CAR T-cell therapy what do you think next generation immunotherapies will look like to successfully combat cancer?

A: The next generation of immunotherapies will build on the insights discovered by immunologists like James Allison and Tasuku Honjo and extend them to modify the body’s response to tumors.

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Join me to Kick off PMWC Silicon Valley in the Santa Clara Convention Center, Focusing on Every Element of Precision Medicine

My team worked in collaboration with Bill Dalton, Kim Blackwell, Atul Butte / India Hook Barnard, Nancy Davidson and Sharon Terry to create a program that touches every component of precision medicine while bringing together all of its key stakeholders. Leading participating institutions including Stanford Health Care, UCSF, Duke Health, Duke University, John Hopkins University, University of Michigan and more will share their learnings and experiences and their successes and challenges, as they make precision medicine the new standard of care for all.

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Interview with Dominic Eisinger of Myriad RBM

Q: The Nobel Price in Medicine was awarded recently to James Allison and Tasuku for their work on unleashing the body’s immune system to attack cancer, a breakthrough that has led to an entirely new class of drugs and brought lasting remissions to many patients who had run out of options. The Nobel committee hailed their accomplishments as establishing “an entirely new principle for cancer therapy.” Besides CAR T-cell therapy what do you think next generation immunotherapies will look like to successfully combat cancer?

A: Next generation immunotherapies include CAR-Ts, TCRs, cancer vaccines, ADCs, bi-specific antibodies, and checkpoint inhibitors.

Read More

2018 Year in Review Milestones: Stakeholder Partnerships Carving Precision Medicine’s Future

2018 has clearly been a year when significant opportunities intersected with strong partnerships to yield advancements. In particular, the clinical advancements that were realized are a testimony to stakeholders working together to deliver on promises affecting major aspects of precision medicine. 2018 has clearly been a year when significant opportunities intersected with strong partnerships to yield advancements.

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Interview with Lisa Alderson of Genome Medical

Q: Tell us a little bit about Genome Medical. What market need is Genome Medical addressing and how?

A: Genome Medical is a telegenomics company that is bridging the gap between available, genetic expertise and the clinical application of genomics.

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Interview with Nasir Bhanpuri of Virta Health

Q: What need is Virta Health addressing?

A: Virta Health delivers an evidence-based treatment to safely and sustainably reverse type 2 diabetes without the use of medications or surgery. In the U.S. alone, type 2 diabetes and prediabetes affects 115 million people, and the economic burden is well-over $300 billion and growing.

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Johns Hopkins
University Of Michigan

The Precision Medicine World Conference (PMWC), in its 17th installment, will take place in the Santa Clara Convention Center (Silicon Valley) on January 21-24, 2020. 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.

See 2019 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

See 2019 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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