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Max Kelsen and genomiQa announce partnership to lead AI and genomics collaboration

Analytics and software engineering agency Max Kelsen and precision analytics start-up genomiQa will combine Artificial Intelligence and genomics to advance the field of precision medicine.

The two Brisbane-based companies have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on developing predictive analysis tools to improve patient care. Initial areas of collaboration will include developing improved models to predict how individual patients are likely to respond to various cancer treatments.

The ground-breaking partnership puts Australia at the global forefront of integrating whole genome sequencing and AI into clinical practise.

The collaboration has already attracted global interest, forming a pipeline of research and commercial activity with a focus on delivering better outcomes for cancer patients and the health system through precision medicine.

genomiQa, a spin out company of QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, offers hospitals, clinicians and companies high-quality analysis of genomic data to inform healthcare decisions. It became the first company in Australia to specialise in the analysis of whole genome cancer data when it launched this year.

genomiQa’s founders are world leaders in the field of genome analytics with a 2015 study in Nature Communications identifying the company’s pipeline as one of the top performers in the world.

Max Kelsen is a leading big data and AI firm specifically focused on pushing the frontier of Artificial Intelligence and machine learning. This includes forming partnerships with IBM Watson and Google to deliver best-in-world access for health outcomes. Max Kelsen is already working with governments and enterprise to deliver cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence and machine learning solutions.

genomiQa’s co-founder, John Pearson, said the collaboration would deliver benefits for patients and the healthcare system.

“With the rate of increase in healthcare costs, we won’t be able to afford 21st century healthcare if we don’t use 21st century methods to select treatments,” he said.

genomiQa’s CEO, Dr Goslik Schepers, said the collaboration offered both parties the opportunity to explore synergies to deliver truly innovative solutions in the field of genome analytics.

“By combining our world-class genomic expertise with Max Kelsen’s advanced AI and machine learning capabilities, the companies can deliver new and exciting health informatics solutions for Australian and global healthcare sectors,” he said.

“We are delighted to be partnering with the leaders in artificial intelligence to improve the way cancer patients are treated.”

Max Kelsen’s health lead, Cameron Bean, said the collaboration would break new ground on some of the largest and most complex challenges facing the field of medicine.

“A whole genome consists of approximately 3.2 billion data points. When we work on cancer, it becomes even more complex. The models we are working on have more data points than there are people in the world,” he said.

Max Kelsen’s CEO, Nicholas Therkelsen-Terry, said the two companies planned to develop ways to predict whether patients were likely to respond to treatments or experience side effects.

“Our approach could be used to make sure that those patients don’t waste precious treatment time on a therapy that will not work for them,” he said.

“Tackling this problem by combining Max Kelsen’s expertise in data science with genomiQa’s expertise in clinical genomics seemed an obvious fit to both companies.”