Genome Industry Special Interest Group (SIG)

Genome Industry Special Interest Group (SIG)

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Genomics has made its slow but revolutionary journey from research into healthcare during a span of more than 20 years - after the first draft of the human reference genome was published in 2001.

We are currently experiencing an era of genomic medicine where advancements in science, medical practice and understanding of human biology are converging with data science. This will subsequently enable treating and curing human diseases at a rate we’ve never seen before.

The Genome Industry Special Interest Group (SIG) of Healthtech Finland is a community of Finnish healthtech companies operating in the field of genomics and aiming to accelerate the production and application of genomic data, genetic tests, AI and digitalization in health care, research and for people's overall wellbeing.

In doing so, one of the key objectives of the Genome Industry SIG is to support integration of the technologies and services developed by the genome industry companies into public healthcare in Finland.

The genome industry along with the larger healthtech industry in Finland is a highly export-driven sector with often extensive international experience and expertise as well as highly qualified personnel. The domestic market serves as a strong reference for the companies in their international operation. The industry is highly regulated by the EU medical device (MDR) and in vitro diagnostics (IVDR) regulation.

Genomics is currently going through an AI-revolution. AI-tools are needed to process the mass amounts of data being generated by sequencing activities in Finland (e.g. from biobanks) and to extract all the valuable information and knowledge. Finland has witnessed a boom in companies which have stepped up to current challenges in genomic research and medicine and are using digital tools to either work with traditional companies or to act as drivers in innovation. AI-driven technology is now beginning to generate new products and services to support the advancement of genomic medicine.

The member community of the Genome Industry SIG represents all the major genome industry areas.

As for genetic tests, there are roughly two types: first, medical genetic tests used by professionals for clinical care, and second, direct-to-consumer genetic testing. Most genetic (incl. clinical) tests fall into the category of consumer products, as they are available at pharmacies and online stores. Genetic tests require bioinformatics, which enable the processing and combination of the produced genetic data. This is a process that enables interpreting the results of the genetic tests.

The healthcare sector in Finland needs more professionals that have the knowledge of interpreting genetic data. There is a significant need for education and trainings in this field in Finland.

Key messages:

  • Develop a trusted national and European legal framework for the responsible and ethical use of genomic data.
  • Avoid fragmentation of regulation and localized technical solutions.
  • Invest in education, new skills and multidisciplinary teams.
  • Optimize the use of innovative technologies, including bio-IT and AI technologies and genetic testing.
  • Support the shift towards prevention in healthcare.
  • Establish public-private partnerships.
  • Support the use of approved standards.
  • Facilitate interoperability, data integration and establishment of a pan-European technical infrastructure to pool genomic data and other health related data for research and healthcare purposes.

Industry news:

MediSapiens and VEIL.AI announce cooperation in data harmonization and anonymization (June 17, 2021)

Euformatics in landmark agreement with A&C Group for NGS software distribution in Latin America (June 3, 2021)

FINBB and Finnish Biobanks Announce a Collaboration with Bayer on the Use of Finnish Biobank Samples, Biodata and Services (May 25, 2021)

BC Platforms Partners with TripleBlind to Power Federated Artificial Intelligence (AI) Data Privacy Approaches (April 20, 2021)

 

The members of the Genome Industry SIG:

•    Abomics
•    BC Platforms
•    FINBB - Finnish Biobanks
•    DiagFactor
•    Euformatics
•    Genevia
•    HUS Helsinki University Hospital
•    Kasve
•    Duodecim
•    Pharmaceutical Information Centre
•    Mectalent Medical Services
•    MediSapiens
•    Modulight
•    Negen
•    SYNLAB