Genomics leader Sophia Genetics paves way to data-driven medicine with $1 million new encryption initiative for privacy protection supported by the swiss commission for technology and innovation

Press Release

Published on 04/27/2016

5 min read

  • Sophia Genetics partners with EPFL Professor and genomics privacy pioneer Jean-Pierre Hubaux on new $1 million encryption project for privacy protection
  • Project focuses on setting new standards and using cutting-edge techniques to protect data flows’ privacy between patient registries in hospitals and genomics platforms
  • The collaboration results will pave way to the advent of Data Driven Medicine via Sophia DDM®, the world’s largest and most advanced clinical genomics platform for molecular diagnosis
  • Initiative supported by the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, 27 April 2016 – Sophia Genetics, the global leader in Data Driven Medicine (DDM), announced today the start of a new $1 million encryption initiative for privacy protection. Partnering with École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) Professor and genomics privacy pioneer Jean-Pierre Hubaux, the company aims to establish new standards to advance the privacy and protection of data flows between patient registries in hospitals and genomics platforms, with a secure and efficient solution. When complete, the project’s outcomes will allow for the secure access and exchange of sensitive information between healthcare stakeholders, building on the existing safety nets of Sophia DDM®, Sophia’s secure platform for genomics analytics gathering the world’s largest clinical genomics community for molecular diagnosis.

Speaking about this new project, Jurgi Camblong, Sophia Genetics’ CEO and founder, explained “This new initiative supported by the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation seeks to address the issue of keeping data and medical records secure while still enabling the consistent, systematic, server-based analysis that clinicians need to make diagnostics decisions that will save patients’ lives. Today, Sophia Genetics is the only genomics company with both ISO 13485 (medical device) and ISO 27001 (data security) certifications, and we are already the most advanced in genomics privacy. However, we believe the outcomes of this new $1 million project should help us unlock true Data Driven Medicine. In the long term, it will allow us to help patients quickly by accessing, swiftly and securely, information about similar cases, and which treatments have been effective for which patients. In the end, it is about finding the right tools to establish the necessary level of trust for Data Driven Medicine to truly fulfil its life-changing potential.”

The Sophia DDM® genomics analytic platform has been adopted by more than 150 hospitals in 22 countries to solve the unique problems, both practical and in terms of privacy and security, posed by genomics. With cutting edge algorithms and machine learning technologies such as PEPPERTM, MUSKATTM and MOKATM, and by working with hospitals and laboratories across Europe, Sophia is providing robust and more accurate clinical diagnostics.

With the adoption of digital technologies such as Next Generation DNA Sequencing (NGS), the healthcare industry entered the Big Data world, raising new challenges in data protection and data analytics. A key benefit of working with Sophia DDM® is that users gain access to shared knowledge across the platform, both indirectly thanks to the company’s exposure to large numbers of medical samples, and directly with access to genomics information shared anonymously by and within the world largest clinical genomics community.

Jean-Pierre Hubaux, professor at the EPFL’s School of Computer and Communication Sciences, and genomics privacy pioneer, added “with this new project, our goal is to find an alternative to current data protection techniques which, unfortunately, often make healthcare data unusable for analysis and diagnostics. Sophia is already the most advanced regarding genomics information and it is now a matter of moving forward with metadata, making sure we connect the dots to leverage the various data points, with the end goal that their analysis will help physicians take better clinician decisions. Obtaining such level of privacy would be a game changer for the advent of Data Driven Medicine.” For the past decade, Jean-Pierre Hubaux’s Laboratory for Computer Communications and Applications at the EPFL has focused its research efforts on privacy protection, in particular for personal data such as genomic information.

Jurgi Camblong concluded “New standards and techniques will give increased reassurance that the high-volume data that we have the ability to compute with our algorithms and machine learning systems can be stored, but most importantly exchanged, in a way that protects individual privacy. Every day, we contribute in better diagnosing hundreds of patients suffering from congenital disorders and cancer. With new privacy tools that will allow us to manage metadata, we will increase this number dramatically and offer patients the most accurate diagnosis of their disease, so that they can receive the most effective treatments available.”

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