Carnegie Mellon University
March 22, 2016

Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance Funds Clinical Genomics Project led by CBD Professors Kingsford and Langmead

By Byron Spice

The Clinical Genomics Modeling Platform, a system for easily creating and deploying predictive models tophda-cloud.jpg help physicians make treatment decisions, is the first Carnegie Mellon University project to be funded by UPMC Enterprises under the umbrella of the Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance.

UPMC's funding for the initial set of projects, including several from the University of Pittsburgh, is expected to total more than $3 million over the next six months, as the commercial potential of these products is further explored.

"We are excited to move forward with the first of many exceptional ideas in the Health Data Alliance pipeline," said Tal Heppenstall, president of UPMC Enterprises. "This promising start bodes well for the Alliance's goal of transforming health care by unleashing the creativity and entrepreneurialism of leading scientists and clinicians in Pittsburgh."

Announced last March, the Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance is a collaboration among CMU, UPMC and Pitt. It will focus on building new companies that create data-intensive software and services, with the potential to revolutionize health care and wellness.

The Clinical Genomics Modeling Platform project is being led by Carl Kingsford and Christopher Langmead, both associate professors of computational biology. It is part of CMU's Center for Machine Learning and Health, which is spearheaded by Eric Xing, professor of machine learning.

The platform is an engine for easily building precision-medicine models for various diseases and populations. Triage algorithms, for instance, might help to determine if patients with a certain disease should be sent home with monitoring or sent to the intensive care unit.

The funded Pitt projects include technologies aimed at reducing patient falls, preventing and monitoring pressure ulcers, and improving the accuracy of cancer diagnoses.

With UPMC's vast resources and world-class clinical expertise, Kingsford, Langmead and the Pitt researchers will further develop their ideas and examine their broader market potential. Based on those results, UPMC Enterprises may provide additional funding and development help as it seeks to create a thriving ecosystem of innovative health care companies in western Pennsylvania.

"These projects represent some of the key areas of focus for UPMC Enterprises, namely clinical tools that will transform the delivery of care, population management that will be essential in health care's move from volume to value, consumer-centric health care, and business services that improve efficiency," said Mr. Heppenstall. "We're excited to work with these inventor-scientists to change the face of America's health care system."

For more information, see the UPMC news release and visit the UPMC Enterprises website.

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Byron Spice | 412-268-9068 |