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The next decade in Genomics

We reflect on what an incredible 10 years it’s been for the Genomics industry. From artificial intelligence to genomes projects. We also look at what to expect in the next decade with inspiration from Bryn Roberts with a fascinating view of the future.

Bryn Roberts shared his vision at the BioData World Congress last month and we think it gives us a great insight into the next decade of Genomics. Bryn told the story of a fictional patient Jane who uses a number of digital health apps to help manage her diabetes, assist with her pregnancy and childbirth and track the development of her mother’s dementia. (Bryn’s story is repeated at the bottom of this article if you haven’t already seen it).

Bryn Roberts is a Senior Vice President And Global Head Of Operations Pharma Research And Early Development at Roche.

The last 10 years have seen tremendous advances in the genomics industry driven by increasing availability (and lower cost) of genomic data.  Paramount has been heavily involved throughout the decade, recruiting bioinformaticians for many commercial clients and as the recruitment partner for Genomics England.  We were proud to play our part in the completion of the 100,000 Genomes Project and are very excited by the expansion to 1 million whole genomes sequenced in five years.

“This project represents a great opportunity to translate our world class genomic science into world leadership in genomic medicine”

Sir John Chisholm (Former chair of the Medical Research Council).

Read more here:

Living longer, automation and robotics

With the average worldwide life expectancy currently at 72.5 years*, patients are living longer as advances in treatments are clearly lengthening their lives. Automation and robotics will soon lead the way in caring for ageing populations thus creating better experiences for both patients and health workers including self-diagnosis.

The pharmacogenomics industry is estimated to grow over $8.98 billion by 2028**. As we have seen, the industry taking a particular direction towards personalised medicine in which the creation of drugs will be tailored an individual’s genetics response. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will continue to advance genomic medicine and help us better understand how diseases begin. Today, consumers can pay as little as $1,000 to have every gene of their DNA read. This has major benefits for future business models for healthcare technology companies and this represents a promising trend. We’re also expecting more gene-related therapies to launch in the next decade.

Skills needed for the new decade

We are repeating our annual Genomics Salary and Workforce Insight Report in January 2020 and it will be interesting to see what skills are in most demand.  Last year the most in demand skills were bioinformatics, data science and IT and we predict this will continue for the foreseeable future. Overcoming challenges in big data in clinical drug development will continue to require skilled bioinformaticians and data scientists.

Paramount Recruitment searches internationally to find the best talent for the genomics, pharmaceutical, healthcare & medical communication industries. Check the latest roles we have available.

Call our team of experienced consultants on 0121 616 3460 where you can have an in-depth conversation about your next career move, and we can help shape your visions for 2020.


Vision of a Digital Health Ecosystem

I had the honour of giving the opening keynote presentation at the BioData World Congress, this week in Basel. Before getting into the details of how we are integrating data at scale and applying advanced analytics to better understand disease, predict outcomes and make more meaningful decisions in medicines research and development, I started with a story. This story represents a vision of the future, where digitalisation is transforming healthcare, empowering individuals, their families and medical professionals, to achieve better outcomes with reduced cost and burden. Here’s a synopsis of the story, which I hope you find thought provoking…

Imagine, it’s 2030 and Jane is in her thirties. She has had type 1 diabetes since childhood and has some cardiovascular complications. She and her husband have been trying to conceive their first baby for the past couple of years and they are celebrating a positive pregnancy test this week.

Jane uses a number of digital health apps to help manage her diabetes, including a continuous glucose monitoring / insulin pump closed-loop system. Since the launch of the Global Digital Health Ecosystem (we’ll call it “Digeco-Health”) 6 years ago, Jane was made aware of two complementary apps, based on her profile, which she subscribed to after discussing with her diabetic medical team. One app helps her track and manage her blood pressure and coagulation times, whilst the other monitors her cardiac rhythm for abnormalities, including atrial fibrillation. Thanks to the Digeco-Health data integration and analytics platform, all of Jane’s data from these apps are combined and analysed to support her cardiovascular and metabolic health. The analytics have helped Jane and her physicians select a new form of insulin and to switch her anticoagulant medication. They are currently monitoring her data carefully to decide whether she needs to be fitted with an implantable cardioverter defibrillator.

When Jane had not conceived after 8 months of trying for a baby, she searched Digeco-Health for apps to help her and her husband. Based on the available validation data, reviews from other users, and reimbursement status in her country, Jane selected a package offering apps from three different companies, which Digeco-Health bundles to support conception, maintaining healthy pregnancy and preparation-for-birth. Jane and her husband chose to submit their genomic information to Digeco-Health to open up additional features in the pregnancy app – they now feel reassured because the Digeco-Health inherited-risk algorithms have not flagged a need for any special pre-natal screening tests.

Fast forward to 2034 and Jane has two beautiful healthy daughters. Unfortunately, her mother Penny has been diagnosed with early-onset dementia. Following Jane’s recommendation, Penny joined Digeco-Health and is using an integrated digital biomarker app to monitor her memory, cognition and movements. These data have enabled her neurologist to select and titrate her medication for maximal benefit and minimal side-effects. Jane is on her mum’s Digeco-Health Trusted List and receives summary data so that she can support her mother more effectively. It has been tremendously helpful, as Jane receives an alert some evenings to say that her mother is predicted to need extra help during the following day.

By 2039, even though her disease is clearly progressing, Penny is still managing to live at home with the help of Digeco-Health, her family and medical team. The digital biomarker composite score is predicting, based on experience from 16,000 other “very similar” patients, that Penny should plan to move into assisted living accommodation in about 6 months’ time.

Shortly after Penny’s move, Jane receives some upsetting information from Digeco-Health. Recent publications suggest that, given her family history and genetic profile, she has a 1-in-4 probability of also developing early-onset dementia. Digeco-Health has several potential offerings to support her, including: a digital biomarker and diagnostic package for the early detection of neurodegenerative disorders; access to a remote genetic counseling service; and confirmation of her eligibility to enroll in a second generation anti-amyloid phase 3 clinical trial, with links to the online registration and e-consent forms.

Jane’s daughters recently started school and already have profiles on Digeco-Health. It’s great that they have not inherited the major dementia risk alleles from their mother and grandmother. However, Sally’s genetic sequence shows that she has a gene variant that carries a moderate breast cancer-risk, and will likely opt for annual circulating tumour DNA screening when she reaches her twenties. This is a convenient and reliable method for detecting very early tumour development and its use is associated with excellent long-term survival…

...and so their story goes on - family memvers with periods of good health and periods of being a patient, throughout life and across generations.

To learn more about Personalised Healthcare at Roche:

Many thanks to Bryn for allowing us to use his article.

Paramount Recruitment searches internationally to find the best talent for the Healthcare Communications, Pharmaceutical and Genomics industries. Click here to view our latest roles or get in touch where you can have an in-depth conversation about your next career move where we can help shape your visions for 2021.

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19th December

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