TruGenomix, a developer of next-generation genomic diagnostics for PTSD and other behavioral health conditions, will partner with BlueBee, the provider of a rapidly configurable omics data analysis platform, through a biomarker-based risk assessment collaboration focused on behavioral health that the companies said was hastened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a BlueBee company spokesperson, the two companies were already engaged in creating a robust tool to help address PTSD in the veteran community, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. But “with the onset of COVID-19, the community is seeing trauma in a new segment at an entirely new level, so this is collective effort even more urgent.”
TruGenomix—a 2018 Illumina Accelerator graduate highlighted by Clinical OMICs last year as one of “10 to Watch: Up-and-Coming Companies Fulfilling the Promise of Precision Medicine”—plans to aggregate its DNA, RNA, and methylation data sets, complete with patient data and metadata, on BlueBee’s platform through the companies’ partnership, whose value was not disclosed.
The companies said they will train, model, and expand insights continuously using machine learning and artificial intelligence, with the goal of enabling early identification of people at high risk for PTSD and other behavioral health conditions based on their biomarkers.
TruGenomix and BlueBee said their collaboration represented an advance over current survey-based methods for identifying behavioral health conditions, which they said were subjective and clouded by the stigma surrounding mental health compared with the companies’ approach combining genomics and digital data.
“For something as complex as human behavioral and mental health, a data strategy must be at the core of R&D,” said Tshaka Cunningham, Ph.D., Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of TruGenomix. “Leveraging BlueBee to power our data operations, analytics, and evolving insights from rich data sets enables us to stay focused on our science and clinical assay validation.
“This partnership is key to our IP growth and mission, which is well positioned to change the course of care and save lives,” Cunningham added.
Vlad-Mihai Sima, Head of R&D at BlueBee, stated that in the partnership’s first phase, his company will configure its machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities for TruGenomix using its platform, designed to optimize data flow from initial discovery through to clinical reporting.
The companies expressed the ambitious goal of revolutionizing behavioral healthcare from both a genomics and digital perspective, by speeding up insight generation and laying the foundation for an industrial-scale, clinical-grade data operation.
“We are honored to serve TruGenomix, and amid the COVID-19 crisis, the urgency for these advances could not be greater,” Sima said.
Executives from TruGenomix and BlueBee, will discuss their plannedPTSD susceptibility assay, as well as a COVID-19 rapid, multiplex PCR created by molecular diagnostics developer ChromaCode, and the broader issue of developing digital infrastructure during the COVID-19 pandemic during a Cambridge Healthtech webinar tomorrow from 11 am to 12 pm ET. The webinar is free, and registration is available here.