Abu Dhabi’s G42 Healthcare’s deal with AWS is about stepping into the cloud and beyond

Dubai: Big Tech meets the future of medical research? With a lot of “cloud” in this mix? That seems to be the immediate reaction when Amazon Web Services, the cloud arm of the US tech and e-commerce giant, joined forces with Abu Dhabi-based G42 Healthcare to expand the possibilities with genomes.

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According to Ashish Koshy, CEO of G42 Healthcare, this is not a refined area but a building block in understanding the nature of future diseases and ways to cure them.

The agreement also highlights Abu Dhabi’s interests in leading-edge medical research through deep alliances. Here Koshy gives an overview of why the deal with AWS would be so important.

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Ashish Koshy, CEO of G42 Healthcare.
Photo Credit: Included

The connection between G42 Healthcare and AWS is about genomes. But isn’t AWS purely a tech major and not more in the medical field?

One of the problems we see today is an abundance of samples such as blood, tissue, and other human and non-human bioresources. However, there is not such a wealth of sequencing infrastructure needed to translate biological samples into genomic data. Instead of keeping biological samples hidden in a biobank, hospital, or research center, we can now democratize access to genetic sequencing and proteomics capabilities by making G42 Healthcare’s omics center infrastructure with AWS available to the world.

The partnership will help us offer our B2G, B2B and B2C customers scalable, customized sequencing solutions as a service for clinical, consumer and research purposes. We intend to make our offerings available globally via AWS cloud infrastructure so we can connect with customers anywhere.

We can deliver omics and insights as an “on-demand service” – samples can be sent to G42 Healthcare for sequencing and analysis, and top-of-the-line genomic and proteomic data is wired back to the customer and securely stored on the AWS cloud system.

As part of this partnership, we are also developing advanced analytics and bioinformatics offerings.

Governments and researchers benefit from access to next-generation sequencing (NGS) or third-generation sequencing (TGS) technologies, proteomics and data analysis, supported by the most flexible and secure cloud computing environment available.

G42 Healthcare can transform genomic data into biological insights that inform drug discovery and clinical applications to uncover new correlations and public data. Beyond DNA sequencing, we can use this new ability for proteomics (the study of proteins). We can receive samples from anywhere in the world, provide local sequencing, proteomic analysis and biobanking if required, and ship data globally, at scale and quickly.

G42 Healthcare’s Omics Center of Excellence – the largest omics center in the region, based in Abu Dhabi – is capable of delivering over 500,000 whole genome sequences annually. This partnership will enable fast and efficient global data storage and transmission to customers anywhere, anytime. (Omics is the branch of science that summarizes the understanding of genomics, proteomics, phenomics, etc.)

And G42 Healthcare already has access to extensive genomic capabilities?

G42 Healthcare operates one of the largest genome sequencing farms in the world. We can deliver over 500,000 genomic samples per year and operate all three major technology providers – Illumina, BGI and ONT.

Our partnership with AWS is focused on leveraging this unique infrastructure and transforming how the data it delivers reaches the world. What AWS brings in this regard is a global cloud network for the data that we generate on behalf of our customers.

And that means world-leading data governance, data protection, information security and compliance with the strictest standards.

Would this require approvals from those whose data is shared by AWS?

Explicit patient consent is at the heart of healthcare and privacy laws. There are relevant contracts and regulations as data security, governance and privacy are at the core of G42 Healthcare and AWS operations.

Why did you choose AWS? What are they bringing to the table?

AWS has a genomic “aware” data infrastructure that will enable G42 Healthcare to offer sequencing as a service on a global scale. AWS offerings help accelerate time to insight given their portfolio size of scientific and genomic solutions. This coupled with agility and scalability supported by an extensive global infrastructure with over 300 edge locations to support data sovereignty.

They are known for having access to over 70 life science datasets and a secure global collaboration infrastructure that helps clients save up to 90 percent on compute costs and long-term data storage costs. AWS supports 98 security standards and compliance certifications – more than any other offering.

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