BC Platforms (BCP), a global leader in healthcare data management and analytics, Euformatics, headquartered in Finland, and Oncompass Medicine, headquartered in Hungary, have formed a partnership to bid for the development of standardized oncology workflows for a buyer consortium of seven leading hospitals* based in Central Europe and co-funded by the European Union Grant Agreement number 874719. The buyer consortium, represented by the Medical University Graz, evaluated all proposals, and awarded a contract to the consortium of BC Platforms, Euformatics and Oncompass Medicine.
Instand-NGS4P is a H2020 funded project for improving cancer patients’ benefit from Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) by developing an integrated and standardized NGS workflow and integrating information from cancer gene testing, pharmacogenetics testing and e-medication in proper presentation to medical doctors to support therapy decision at bedside. The project started in January 2020 and has now evolved to a point where suppliers for design of the standardized NGS workflows have been selected after an open market consultation and call for tenders. The program will run until May 2025 with a total pre-commercial procurement budget of approximately 8 million euros.
During the open market consultation in 2021 BC Platforms, Euformatics and Oncompass Medicine decided to join forces and respond to the tender together to leverage the strengths of each partner and build a strong proposal. The combination of existing IP and expertise in areas such as genomic data management, variant interpretation, NGS data quality control and precision oncology convinced the evaluators to award contracts to the partnership in both post-sequencing technical modules, namely bioinformatic analysis and integrated reporting.
Kurt Zatloukal, Professor of Pathology at the Medical University Graz comments: “Driven by patient and clinical needs, innovative NGS workflows from sample-pre-analytics to medical decision making will be developed in the program by the leading European SMEs in this domain. The joint proposal by BC Platforms, Euformatics and Oncompass Medicine was evaluated by leading experts and selected for funding. We look very much forward to a stimulating collaboration and a successful project.”
The supplier side of this contract is equally excited about the collaboration ahead.
Tero Silvola, CEO of BC Platforms, comments on the partnership and awarded contract: “We knew early on that this program provides the opportunity to define the clinical practices for oncology and precision medicine for years to come if we succeed in being part of it. We have the genomic data management platform on top of which the workflows can be designed. We have a long history of working with Euformatics so partnering with them for variant interpretation and quality control was natural and Oncompass Medicine contributes strongly for the e-medication part of the program.”
Tommi Kaasalainen, CEO of Euformatics, continues: “Instand-NGS4P program hits the sweet spot from our product development and expertise perspective. This is really a win-win since we can build on top of the existing omnomicsSUITE product family in close collaboration with leading European healthcare institutions. Having deployed several clinical solutions together with BC Platforms in North America, Europe and Asia, I am confident that the partnership will work well. Oncompass Medicine is a very welcome addition to the consortium, providing value beyond our capabilities.”
Prof. Dr. Istvan Petak, Founder and CEO of Oncompass Medicine, concludes: “Our breakthrough AI-powered oncology software can help oncologists find the right targeted therapy for every cancer patient based on the whole complex molecular profile of their tumor. This being the last step in the NGS workflow we wanted to partner with BC Platforms and Euformatics to cover the full post-sequencing bioinformatics and reporting with an integrated end-to-end solution that will be easy for the hospitals to deploy after the project is completed. Looking forward to pushing the envelope.”
The first phase of the project starts immediately and the results of the first phase will be delivered in mid August 2022. The purchasing consortium will then evaluate the output of all phase 1 contractors and select the best ones to continue to phase 2. Similarly after the second phase there will be a competitive selection to award the final third phase contracts to eventually deploy and integrate in 2025 two standardized NGS workflows as the result of the Instand-NGS4P program.
*The consortium is formed by hospitals from the Medical University of Graz in Austria, University of Florence and University of Milano-Bicocca in Italy, Erasmus University Medical Center in the Netherlands, Christian-Albrecht University of Kiel and St. Anna Children’s Cancer Research Institute in Germany, and the Centre Léon Bérard in France.