Berg to apply AI drug discovery model to U.K.'s genome data repository

Genomics England has enlisted Berg Health to support its 100,000 Genomes Project. The agreement gives Berg a seat alongside GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), Roche ($RHHBY) and other notable drugmakers on the GENE Consortium, an initiative set up to investigate how data from the project can facilitate drug discovery.

Berg, a Framingham, MA-based startup co-founded by a real estate billionaire, brings a particular set of capabilities to the consortium. The company is known for making bold statements about the potential for its tech platform to slash the time and money it takes to bring a drug to market. Now, it will get a chance to show its approach to R&D, which entails using software to map changes to cell pathways in disease states, can help to extract insights from the growing pool of data being gathered by Genomics England.

With its focus on looking at everything that goes on in a cell, from proteins to lipids, communication to energy metabolism, Berg theoretically offers something beyond the genomics data and health records that are at the heart of the 100,000 Genomes Project. "The Berg approach essentially does away with the assumption that genes, by themselves, are responsible for disease or the absence of it," Dr. James Moser of Beth Israel Deaconess, a medical center that is working with Berg to research pancreatic cancer, told Reuters

Berg is joining the GENE Consortium partway through a one-year trial to assess the best ways to work with the industry. South San Francisco, CA-based NGM Bio--a Fierce 15 company--has also joined the consortium. Genomics England unveiled its newly swelled list of collaborators alongside details of additions to its data interpretation team. Congenica and Omicia have come on board to help with the interpretation of 8,000 genomes sequenced in the program. The new additions join Lockheed Martin-Cypher, NantHealth and WuXi NextCODE on the list of interpretation partners.

- read Reuters' article
- and Genomics England's statement