GNS Healthcare - 5 emerging biotech IT firms to watch

Founded: 2000
CEO: Colin Hill
Headquarters: Cambridge, MA

To hear GNS Healthcare CEO Colin Hill tell it, the rest of the world has started to catch up with what his company has been working on for 11 years. What the life sciences and healthcare industries are now grappling with is making sense of huge amounts of data from a range of sources including gene-expression assays, next-generation sequencers and electronic health records.

What GNS offers is a reverse engineering/forward simulation technology that can simultaneously crunch data from such sources and churn out novel hypotheses about, say, which biomarkers are driving treatment response or resistance, or what set of factors cause a patient to suffer side effects of treatment.

In recent months, GNS (formerly Gene Network Sciences) has inked pacts with several major players in the life sciences game. It's working with Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) on computer models of immune-inflammation, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to uncover mechanisms driving lung cancer and personalized therapies, and a group at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston to analyze patient information in order to understand why patients with congestive heart failure suffer side effects of treatment and are readmitted to the hospital.

A key to the firm's success in landing partnership deals is that its technology doesn't rely on previous findings in scientific literature to inform its analyses of large datasets. That is part of the magic of its technology and why it's able to provide many different hypotheses about the underlying drivers of certain health conditions. Biologists, for example, can take the hypotheses generated from GNS and do follow-up studies to confirm them. This saves research groups the time of having to, say, try to come up with hypotheses by comparing the results of their experiments with what is known about biology. Let the supercomputers do that.

GNS Healthcare - 5 emerging biotech IT firms to watch

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