St. Petersburg, June 19, 2015 – On the first day of St. Petersburg International Economic Forum IBM signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ‘Skolkovo’ Foundation and the ‘First Oncology Research and Advisory Center’ (FORAC) for creating a first of a kind strategic, technology and go-to-market collaboration aimed at development of a personalized medicine platform in Russia.
It is hoped that the platform will utilize novel clinical decision support solutions to extend the healthy productive lives of patients with cancer and other age-related diseases. The new platform will be available to oncology researchers, clinics and institutions to help doctors narrow down all available cancer trials and quickly identify potential matches, offering promising new approaches and treatment options.Within the agreement, IBM and ‘First Oncology Research and Advisory Center’plan to provide the know-how and methods for assisting clinicians in making treatment decisions with support from IBM Watson Health and FORAC’s OncoFinder solution.«The OncoFinder is a popular signalome-wide pathway analysis platform used for personalized medicine and drug repurposing. Combined with IBM Watson, which is likely the world’s most powerful decision support system capable of bringing research and precision to medicine, could help save lives, optimize healthcare and accelerate the pace of clinical research», explained Anton Buzdin, PhD, DSc, CEO of FORAC.«Leaders in health and life sciences are faced with myriad obstacles and issues. Powered by Watson’s cognitive computing capabilities, IBM Watson Health is capable of dramatically improving the ability of doctors, researchers and insurers to surface new insights from the large amounts of personal health data being created daily. By combining attributes from the patient’s file with clinical expertise, external research, and data, IBM Watson can identify potential treatment plans for a patient. This means doctors can consider the treatment options provided by Watson when making decisions for individual patients», added Kirill Korniliev, General Manager IBM Russia and CIS. “The cooperation with ‘First Oncology Research and Advisory Center’ and Skolkovo Foundation once completed will further support IBM’s mission of using powerful cognitive computing to underpin a new, personalized and holistic approach to healthcare.”“IBM Watson is the new standard of excellence in machine-assisted clinical decision making which we hope will provide our scientists and medical doctors with a powerful platform to treat their patients more effectively.We also hope that this collaboration will enable us to participate in exciting research and make tangible contributions to extending healthy productive longevity”, said Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD, co-founder of FORAC and CEO of Johns Hopkins University-based Insilico Medicine, Inc.FORAC is a start-up company within Skolkovo Foundation’s Biomed Cluster whose goals are to promote innovation for health and business growth in Russia. As a part of its strategic focus on fighting cancer, FORAC intensively collaborates with international partners e.g. Insilico Medicine/USA and Pathway Pharmaceuticals/Hong kong who have an extended focus on drug discovery and drug repurposing.Skolkovo will support this collaboration with promotional activities and connect the project with the leaders from across the healthcare community.The project will be integrated in the infrastructure of the Innovation Center.“The project demonstrates that our Russian startups not only can, but already worthily get high evaluation by the leaders of IT industry. This team can provide unique algorithms, which will save hundreds of oncology patients. I am certain that combining research in medicine and information technologies will lead to fundamental improvement of diagnostics and treatment of patients with various diseases. The collaboration between IBM and FORAC is a great example of Skolkovo innovative ecosystem in action,”- commented Victor Vekselberg, President of Skolkovo Foundation.The agreement was signed by Victor Vekselberg, the President of Skolkovo Foundation; Anton Buzdin, PhD, DSc Chief Executive Officer, ‘First Oncology Research and Advisory Center’ and Kirill Korniliev, Vice President, General Manager IBM Russia and CIS.About IBMIBM is a globally integrated technology and consulting company headquartered in Armonk, New York. With operations in more than 170 countries, IBM attracts and retains some of the world's most talented people to help solve problems and provide an edge for businesses, governments and non-profits.Innovation is at the core of IBM's strategy. The company develops and sells software and systems hardware and a broad range of infrastructure, cloud and consulting services.Today, IBM is focused on four growth initiatives - business analytics, cloud computing, growth markets and Smarter Planet. IBMers are working with customers around the world to apply the company's business consulting, technology and R&D expertise to build systems that enable dynamic and efficient organizations, better transportation, safer food, cleaner water and healthier populations. More information is available at:http://www.ibm.com/us/en/About IBM Watson: http://www.ibm.com/smarterplanet/us/en/ibmwatson/About FORACEstablished in 2012 by a team of Russian and expatriate scientists, the First Oncology Research and Advisory Center (FORAC) specializes in personalized medicine research services and clinical decision support platform development. Its flagship OncoFinder™ platform was used by research groups worldwide resulting in multiple academic publications in Oncotarget and Nature journals. In clinical oncology the company uses multi-omics data from patient’s tumors to predict the efficacy of multiple therapies and provide comprehensive research reports. It provides R&D services to Insilico Medicine, Inc,, located at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore on drug repurposing in cancer and age-related diseases. Insilico Medicine’s scientific advisory board includes Charles Cantor, Bud Mishra, Donald Small, Kristen Fortney, Yuri Nikolsky and the2013 Nobel Laureate, Michael Levit. http.://www.ponkc.com/About Skolkovo FoundationThe Skolkovo Foundation is a non-profit organization founded in September2010 by the Russian government with the objective of accelerating Russia’s transformation from a resource-intensive to an innovation-based economy. To achieve this objective, the Foundation is overseeing the creation of the Skolkovo Innovation Center, composed of more than 1,000 high-tech startups, Skolkovo Technopark, the Skolkovo Institute of Technology (Skoltech) - a new graduate research University established in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology - and Skolkovo city, located near Moscow. Together, these entities establish a vibrant ecosystem of technology innovation and entrepreneurship. Fifty global corporations including Boeing, Cisco Systems, EADS, GE, Johnson & Johnson, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Siemens, Nokia, Samsung, and Panasonic have already recognized the opportunity Skolkovo presents by signing R&D partnership agreements with the Foundation. The cumulative revenue of Skolkovo’s startups through December 2014 reached $1 billion. They brought in more than $220 million in investment, creating 13,500 jobs and filing over 1,300 patent applications along the way. By 2020 over 2 million square meters of residential and office space will be built in Skolkovo with 35,000 people working daily in the Innovation Center. For more information: http://www.sk.ru/en