Thank you for Subscribing to CIO Applications Weekly Brief
Thank you for Subscribing to CIO Applications Weekly Brief
Having founded and led a wetlab service company for many years, Maarten Braspenning realized that the main challenges in life sciences research were shifting to data analysis instead of data generation. This paradigm shift urged him to build a bioinformatics, statistics and machine learning company, which is at present a leader in this space.
In an interview with CIOApplications magazine, Braspenning, who currectly serves as the company’s CEO, shares his views on the trends and challenges in the life sciences industry and how BISC Global has positioned itself in this space. He also shed light on how customers can benefit from the company’s bioinformatics and statistics consulting services that focus on strong scientific expertise, project management and clear communication.
1. Please provide us a brief overview about your company.
BISC Global is a young company that provides bioinformatics, statistics and machine learning consulting services to companies in life sciences. There are 3 types of projects we work on. The first being data-analysis, data visualization and interpretation. Secondly, we can build custom tools for our customers, such as scripts, pipelines and software, which we then transfer to our customer for their internal use. In a third type of project, we build cloud-based systems for our customers, where we focus on user-friendliness, cost-efficiency and tailoring the system to the customer’s requirements whether they are focusing on data-storage or data-analysis. For our customers, we either work project-based or time-based and on-site or off-site depending on their needs and requirements.
2. What are some of the trends that you expect to have an impact in the Bioinformatics space this year and how is BISC Global planning to leverage these trends and evolve?
We see an increasing interest in immunology, whether that is immune-oncology or for infectious disease studies such as COVID19. Within BISC Global, we have a lot of expertise in immune repertoire pipeline development and data analysis, but also in antibody discovery, etc. We have been working heavily in this space over the past years and only expect that to increase the coming months and years.
Second comes the rise of single-cell sequencing technologies. We clearly see more and more customers venturing into this space, but obviously this needs specific skills for the subsequent data-analysis. We have been helping a number of customers in big pharma and biotech with the development of single-cell sequencing pipelines and data-analysis.
Lastly, we see a clear shift in both biotechs and pharma companies towards cloud solutions.
Our focus is not only on scientific and technical expertise, but equally as much on good communication and deliverables
The main challenge today is finding the balance between the amount of data out there and finding the right people with the right skills. Generating data has become easier, faster and cheaper. On top of that, more and more public data is also becoming available. On the other hand, there is a limit to the number of skilled bioinformaticians and data scientist out there. Companies like BISC Global can definitely play a role in this. We can support our customers for their data-analysis needs in an effective way with our skilled team of consultants, whenever the need for help arises.
4. “Our expertise in pipeline development and automatization, data integration and structural biology allow us to provide bioinformatics services of the highest standards.” Please walk us through this statement and shed some light on the Bioinformatics on the basis of its methodology, features and benefits involved?
One example of this was a project we completed recently. Our customer was involved in a very large project where they expected to run whole genome sequencing at 50x coverage on thousands of samples over a 2-year time-period. For that, we were asked to build a state-of-the art analysis pipeline that was able to process over 100 samples per day at a cost of less than 5 dollars per sample. Through our combined expertise in genomics, pipeline development and automation we were able to deliver this to the customer in appr 1 month. More and more companies are expected to have similar requests, since there is a clear need for top-notch analysis being run in a highly automated and optimized way.
With this in mind, we are launching our own Online Pipeline Platform later this year. Through this online platform researchers, both in industry and academia, can have their data analyzed in an automated way without the need for any bioinformatics skills. Initially, we expect an RNA-sequencing pipeline, a single-cell RNA-sequencing pipeline, and an immune repertoire sequencing pipeline to be available on the platform. We aim to add more and more pipelines after the launch. We believe this platform will drastically speed up and simplify the way biologists analyze their data.
5. What according to you are the distinct features of BISC Global that give it a competitive edge?
We often hear from customers that have worked with other bioinformatics service providers in the past, that they did not have a clear idea what was happening throughout the project, resulting in a project outcome that was often not what they had expected or asked for. This is all due to a lack of communication. The way we distinguish ourselves is that our focus is not only on scientific and technical expertise, but equally as much on good communication.
We at BISC Global work very closely with our customers and are in constant contact with them. By doing this, we take away the black box for our customers and ensure clarity throughout the project. We want it to be clear for everyone involved what the customer’s expectations are, how the work will be performed, what the timelines are, where we currently stand and what are the next steps.
6. What does the future hold for your organization?
We are expanding by growing the teams in the different locations we already have, and are also expanding by starting teams in new locations. BISC Global is currently expanding into Switzerland alongside a third location in the US later this year. We are also expecting the launch of our Online Pipeline Platform (OPP) in a few months, which we anticipate will become an important tool for researchers both in academia and industry.
Over the coming years, the importance of data in life sciences as in other industries will only increase. Even in these uncertain times (the global corona virus pandemic,) this is an absolute certainty. And, with our fantastic team, we want to be at the forefront of this revolution.