The Danish National Genome Center (DNGC) has granted a four-year contract to Lifebit, which will deploy its CloudOS to create a Federated Trusted Research Environment within the country’s supercomputing cluster. The technology reportedly will serve as the data management and analysis platform for the nation’s researchers, clinical scientists, and international collaborators.
To learn more about the partnership and how it might help the DNGC (an agency and authority within the country’s healthcare system) in its mission to advance personalized medicine, Outsourcing-Pharma connected with Thorben Seeger, Lifebit’s chief business development officer.
OSP: Could you please share how you came to work with the DNGC—has Lifebit collaborated with their team or any other entities under the Danish Healthcare umbrella?
TS: Lifebit is the global leader in providing the software and infrastructure for Trusted Research Environments (TREs) that empower data custodians (government and research organizations) to make their biomedical data securely findable and usable for data consumers (pharmaceuticals and biotech companies). Examples of flagship Government and research organizations that are currently leveraging Lifebit’s technology, include Genomics England, NIHR Cambridge Biomedical Research Campus, and the Hong Kong Genome Institute.
On the pharma side, our latest partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) involves using our advanced transformational solutions and services to support the development of a data, analytics, and infrastructure platform to leverage BI’s internal as well as external data assets. Boehringer Ingelheim has partnerships with biobanks and Governments around the globe - Lifebit’s federated technology will now enable them to achieve a joint view over these distributed datasets and jointly analyze this data, effectively helping them to build much larger, more diverse cohorts. This will transform research and development for Boehringer Ingelheim, helping build a world where access to biomedical data will never again be a bottleneck for curing diseases.
Building on this recognized leadership position, Lifebit was introduced as a recommended supplier through Deloitte who has been consulting with the Danish government. Subsequently, Lifebit was invited to participate in an open tender commissioned by the DNGC through the EU Tender portal (TED), which resulted in a recently announced partnership with the DNGC - a government agency and authority within the Danish healthcare system.
The DNGC was set up in 2019 to implement the Danish government’s national personalized medicine strategy and acquired a grant of DKK 990m ($140m USD) from the Novo Nordisk Foundation to cover the first 4.5 years of development and work towards establishing and operating a computational infrastructure for the organization. With their core vision being to develop more precise diagnoses, targeted treatments and strengthen research within the Danish healthcare system, the DNGC selected Lifebit to deliver a Federated Trusted Research Environment to deliver on this vision. This four-year contract will involve Lifebit deploying Lifebit CloudOS to create a Federated Trusted Research Environment within Denmark’s national supercomputing center.
This Federated Trusted Research Environment created by Lifebit CloudOS will enable researchers to collaborate over this rich dataset at scale and drive international collaboration between other government initiatives. Furthermore, the federation will play a crucial role in enabling the future possibility for DNGC to potentially collaborate with international partners such as Genomics England, France Genomique, Genomic Medicine Sweden, and other biobanks from around the world.
OSP: As you mention, the DNGC is aimed at the development of more precise diagnoses, targeted treatments, and improving its research efforts. Could you please share more details on how Lifebit’s technology will be harnessed to support that mission?
TS: The scale and sensitivity of genomic data bring unique challenges concerning storage, management, analysis, and collaboration. Lifebit’s patented federated technology enables data custodians, such as research organizations and biobanks to virtually connect their datasets in federated systems. Critically, this allows researchers to overcome challenges with data access, sharing, and collaboration, enabling DNGC researchers to access and analyze sensitive patient data at its source in a single unified Trusted Research Environment without moving the data.
Lifebit CloudOS will deliver a next-generation computational infrastructure within Denmark’s on-premise supercomputing center, allowing DNGC to establish, operate, and collaborate at a global scale with state-of-the-art national infrastructure for personalized medicine while maintaining data security.
OSP: Does this data collaboration between Lifebit and the DNGC have any initial or long-term goals or targets you’re looking to hit?
TS: By democratizing access to population-scale clinical and genomic data, we are advancing precision medicine, enabling researchers to mine vast datasets to find the most effective treatments for people with a particular genetic makeup. Initiatives such as the EU-wide EP PerMed, Genomics England, and the DNGC are working together to usher in the transition to data-guided medicine.
Staying true to DNGC’s core vision of strengthening research within the Danish healthcare system, the first phase of the strategy will involve the DNGC and its collaborators recruiting and sequencing whole genomes of 60,000 patients diagnosed with cancer, autoimmune disorders, and rare diseases by 2024. From there, the DNGC has a long-term vision to support further development of a more precise diagnosis of patients and target treatment more accurately, with access to groundbreaking whole genome sequencing and to develop a platform for revolutionary research.
With the Danish National Genome Center, Denmark could have a world-leading and high-tech center for precision medicine. The DNGC is creating a supercomputer system that enables the combination of large amounts of various data. For example, they may combine text from Electronic Health Records (EHR), X-rays, and genetic data. The supercomputer’s analytic power will enable patterns and contexts to be uncovered that provide a very accurate picture of patient treatment while simultaneously providing health research with a data infrastructure that has great potential for the benefit of future patients.