Private US biotech Berg is bringing its artificial intelligence technology to the UK’s 100,000 Genomes Project, in order to help analyse massive datasets relating to patients and cell biology.

In an unprecedented move, the 100,000 Genomes Project plans to collect and analyse the DNA of 100,000 people in the UK and hook this with information contained in NHS records, to identify the genetic factors behind various rare diseases and six common cancers.

The Boston-based group is joining the linked GENE Consortium (Genomics Network for Enterprises Consortium), which is overseeing a year-long trial that aims to identify the most effective and secure way of bringing industry expertise into the Project, providing a platform for future work on the development of new drugs using anonymised data.

Berg intends to apply its expertise in data-analytics and its proprietary Interrogative Biology Platform - which integrates molecular data directly from a patient with clinical and demographic information to learn predictive patterns - to develop an analytical tool for processing data from the Project.

"Through our partnership with Genomics England, Berg will use AI-based big data analytics to identify areas in the biology that have been affected by a diseased environment," said Niven Narain, Berg's co-founder, president and chief technology officer. "There will be novel data developed from this project and our goal is to apply Berg's technology and expertise in advancing the knowledge learned into an actionable benefit back to society.”

NGM joins GENE

San Francisco-based NGM Biopharmaceuticals has also joined the GENE Consortium. Ultimately, it is hoped that the unique partnership will transform treatment for patients with rare diseases and cancer, with faster access to the right treatment and personalised care.

“Exploring how industry will work with this unique dataset along with driving up the quality of the interpretation of genomic data are crucial to us in finding out how to understand and treat disease better in the future,” said Sir John Chisholm, Executive Chairman of Genomics England. “It’s this that will ensure genomic medicine benefits patients for years to come.”