BC Platforms has announced that it has entered into a research collaboration with the UK’s national biobanking platform in order to enable clinical and genetic data to be integrated, supported by the recently established Health Data Research UK institute. The biobanking platform – directory.biobankinguk.org – is hosted by the University of Nottingham’s UKCRC Tissue Directory and Coordination Centre (UKCRC TDCC) and run under the national registry for biobanks holding over 150 biobanks.
BC Platforms, founded in 1997 from an MIT Whitehead project spinoff, is in the business of powerful genomic data management and analysis solutions. The company operates a Global Network of Biobanks known as BCRQUEST.COM, a streamlined solution for secure data sharing, analytics and governance, enabling greater collaboration for scientific innovation.
BC Platforms has global operations with its headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, research and development in Helsinki, Finland, and sales and marketing in London, Boston, and Vancouver. The company’s vision is to build the world’s leading analytics platform for healthcare and industry by 2020.
The UKCRC Tissue Directory and Coordination Centre (UKCRC TDCC) works to maximize the use, value and impact of the UK’s human sample resources in the UK and beyond. It is guided by the belief that the biomedical research ecosystem should be based on open standards, open-science, and pre-competitive collaboration.
To achieve this, the UKCRC TDCC has focused on helping researchers find samples and data, helping sample resources improve their data systems, and harmonising policy on the discovery and use of samples and data. It is run by a small dedicated team in the University of Nottingham and University College London and was mandated by the UK Clinical Research Collaboration.
Data protection and governance is changing how data research is undertaken. Increasingly there is a need to discover data from multiple sources in order to construct a research proposal – this is especially true with biobanks. Therefore, the challenge is how to preserve the security of the data whilst allowing search, discovery and analytics across multiple sources.
The collaboration will see BC Platforms opening up its connector technology across the biobanking platform in order to develop an open standard that can be utilised and reimplemented by any accredited party. It has provided a licence to its query engine to the University of Nottingham and will allow any party in the biobanking platform to develop their own version of the query engine or connector based on the open standard.
The aim of this research collaboration is to create the foundations that enable biobanks to be included within the eco-system, but then to allow academic groups, technologists and industry to drive the future direction via open-source development. Working together, BC Platforms and the University of Nottingham expect to have a full operational solution by the end of the first year that can then be utilized by biobanks using open interoperable connectors and standards.
It is anticipated that this initial concept will be scaled to all UK biobanks and genomic cohorts and will be replicated across European countries wanting to adopt the UK model through working with European organisations such as BBMRI-ERIC and ELIXIR.
“We have been impressed by the openness and willingness of BC Platforms to make its technology platform available across the biobanking platform in order to improve data sharing and its interrogation across the network. We believe that by combining BC Platforms’ technology with an open standards approach, we can propel the work of the national centre, UKCRC TDCC, by many years and are looking forward to a productive collaboration that will support us in being a leading platform for the discovery of genetic and clinical data for research.” – Dr. Philip Quinlan of UKCRC TDCC
“We are delighted to be working on this research collaboration with the UKCRC TDCC and look forward to implementing this solution across the UK biobanking ecosystem in order to progress standardized and systematic data sharing in a safe and secure manner.” – Tero Silvola, CEO of BC Platforms