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A leading science and technology company, Merck has now announced a strategic collaboration with Project Data Sphere LLC, an independent, not-for-profit initiative to jointly lead the Global Oncology Big Data Alliance (GOBDA).

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed late last week. It coincided with Merck’s Award Ceremony announcing the recipients of its 2017 Grant for Oncology Innovation.

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

To-date, access to existing data has already led to new and potentially practice-changing findings. People living with cancer experience high levels of unmet medical need and the initiative aims to support the community through the provision of robust research and accelerated delivery of much-needed treatment options.

The vision of the initiative is to build on the existing innovative data platform of Project Data Sphere to provide an open-access, global, big data platform to empower and connect the oncology community with big data and advanced analytical capabilities to accelerate discovery, development and delivery of innovative treatment to cancer patients.

The current platform contains historical clinical trial data from almost 100,000 patients provided by multiple organizations, and access to this information has already led to new and potentially practice-changing findings. GOBDA will expand this platform to include rare tumor trial, experimental arm and real-world patient data. Leveraging these data with big data analytics will help to optimize 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 this field.

Additionally, institutes and industry will unleash analytical power and large data to study and learn how to better manage rare but serious immune-mediated adverse events and will be able to assist regulators to adapt these new learning into treatment guidelines.

“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 J. Murphy, CEO of Project Data Sphere LLC. “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.”

Investment in the initiative builds on Merck’s commitment to rewarding innovation and creative thinking that could further advance the field of medicine, and begins a new chapter for global oncology innovation.

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