Merck will join forces with Project Data Sphere – an independent, not-for-profit initiative of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer's Life Sciences Consortium – to jointly lead the Global Oncology Big Data Alliance (GOBDA).

The GOBDA initiative has been formed to expand the open-access of de-identified patient data sets to further enhance analytical capabilities, by building on Project Data Sphere’s digital platform.

The current platform contains historical clinical trial data from almost 100,000 patients provided by multiple organisations. GOBDA will expand this platform to include rare tumour trial, experimental arm and real-world patient data.

The hope is that leveraging these data with big data analytics will help to optimise clinical trials, build a registry of data and help to enable advancement in the understanding of cancer treatment globally, with the mission to address the significant unmet needs in the field. In addition, by unleashing analytical power and big data to study and learn how to better manage rare but serious immune-mediated adverse events, institutes and industry will be able to assist regulators to adapt these new learnings into treatment guidelines, as well as establishing models to help enable early adverse event identification and improved patient outcomes.

“The ultimate goal of our alliance with Project Data Sphere is to unleash the power of big data to bring value to cancer patients,” said Belén Garijo, Member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO Healthcare. “Merck is deeply committed to investing in initiatives that push the boundaries of cancer research, that we hope will accelerate the discovery, development and delivery of innovative treatments to all who need it.”

“Big data is changing the face of healthcare as we know it, and advances in our ability to collect data, share and analyze it has already led to ground-breaking work,” said Dr Martin Murphy, CEO of Project Data Sphere. “The joint force of Merck and Project Data Sphere will aim to connect and empower a truly global oncology community with these big data and analytical capabilities. We are excited about the Global Oncology Big Data Alliance initiative and the continuing engagement of a diverse community focused on finding solutions for cancer patients.”