BC Platforms, a Swiss company that provides genomic data management and analysis solutions, has announced a new partnership with Biogen, Microsoft, and the Accelerated Cure Project (ACP). The main goal of the agreement is to grant researchers access to better data and support collaborations that will improve research into the genetic factors of Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

The Accelerated Cure Project was set up by patients as a non-profit organisation that works to accelerate research into MS. Through research and collaboration, the project hopes to improve diagnosis and treatments for patients and, potentially, develop a cure for the condition.

“MS affects at least 2.3 million people worldwide,” said Robert McBurney, PhD, CEO of the ACP. “BC Platforms’ technology provides an efficient way to manage the growth of our data repository, increases its visibility to the research community, and offers a simple way for researchers to collaborate and test hypotheses, especially those involving genetic data. As a result of this relationship with BC Platforms, ACP can have an even bigger impact in driving research that will improve the health, healthcare and quality of life of people affected by MS.”

Biogen are similarly interested in working to treat MS, as well as other neurological and neurodegenerative conditions like spinal muscular atrophy. Currently, they are one of the world leading biotechs working to treat MS, with a portfolio of successful medicines available.

“Hundreds of genetic variants have been associated with MS, but their functional relevance is still unclear,” said Karol Estrada, PhD, Associate Director of Statistical Genetics and Genetic Epidemiology at Biogen. “We still have considerable work to do to understand how genetic variations influence susceptibility to MS, the timing of symptom onset, disease progression, and treatment response. By combining Biogen’s expertise in neurological diseases with advanced cloud and genomic data management and analytic capabilities, we can improve our knowledge of how genetic variations impact disease pathophysiology.”

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The partnership will grant Biogen and the ACP access to BC Platforms’ solutions, including the newly-launched BCRQUEST.com, using Microsoft’s cloud platform, Azure, as the data host. Biogen, Microsoft, and the ACP are all members of BC Platforms’ Open Biobank Research Enhancement Alliance (OBREA). The programme was established with the intention of enabling widespread analysis of combined genomic and clinical data from MS patients and to streamline any possible collaborations between biobanks and disease researchers.

“We are pleased that our data management and analytics platform is being used to better understand a disabling and unpredictable disease such as multiple sclerosis, the incidence of which has been increasing in recent years,” said BC Platforms’ CEO, Tero Silvola. “Access to large scale datasets with both genetic and clinical data will enable researchers to identify and interpret genetic variations and support insights for preventing and treating MS.”