GNS Healthcare Signs Childhood Asthma Genetics Collaboration with Nationally-Ranked Hospital

Brigham and Women's Hospital and GNS Healthcare will build predictive patient outcomes model from genetics, gene expression, and clinical data

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 23, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- GNS Healthcare, Inc. (GNS) today announced a two-year collaboration with Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. The goal of the collaboration is to identify biomarkers to predict patient response to asthma therapies and to discover new biology that may lead to better treatments for asthma.  The collaboration will combine the disease expertise of the BWH researchers, the computational expertise of BWH and GNS, and GNS's supercomputer-driven Reverse Engineering Forward Simulation (REFS(TM)) scientific computing platform. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"We are thrilled to be collaborating with GNS Healthcare to use the leading machine-learning and simulation platform to potentially discover the underlying causes of this devastating disease that affects the quality of life of children," said Scott Weiss, M.D., M.S., Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Associate Physician, BWH. "Our expertise at BWH in studying the genetics and clinical outcomes of childhood asthma, combined with the GNS platform, represents a powerful new approach to combating this disease."

BWH and GNS will be working from de-identified patient data from over 700 participants in the Childhood Asthma Management Program, a five-year clinical trial that compared inhaled corticosteroids to placebo in patients who were 5-12 years old when enrolled in the study.  The data for patients include genetics, gene expression, several clinical and environmental measures, and clinical outcomes such as hospitalizations, requirements for fast-acting asthma drugs, and reduced lung growth.  The BWH and GNS team will utilize the REFS platform to build computer models directly from the data that connect genetics to biology to clinical outcomes.  These computer models will be simulated to discover the key genetic and molecular drivers of both childhood asthma disease progression and response to inhaled corticosteroids.  BWH and GNS plan to publish their findings from the collaboration and engage drug makers in utilizing the discoveries and computer models to make new therapies available to patients.

"We are looking forward to working with Dr. Weiss and his team to unravel 'the blueprint' of childhood asthma using our novel and powerful approach," said Dr. Iya Khalil, Executive Vice President and co-founder of GNS. "Together, we have a chance to make a real impact on asthma for children in the next few years."

About REFS

REFS is comprised of integrated machine-learning algorithms and software that extract "causal" relationships from complex, multi-dimensional data and enable the simulation of billions of "what if?" hypotheses to explore novel unseen conditions and predictions forward in time. This model-centric discovery and simulation approach represents a paradigm shift in data analysis, leapfrogging existing approaches, such as high-dimensional pattern matching.  REFS is licensed to GNS from Via Science.

About GNS Healthcare

GNS Healthcare, a subsidiary of Via Science, is a healthcare IT company that applies machine-learning and simulation technology to optimize patient treatment in partnership with health insurance companies, pharmacy benefit managers, health care providers, and pharmaceutical and biotech companies. GNS Healthcare is the information guru between drug makers and drug buyers, matching drugs to patients to deliver on the promise of 'smart' medicine.

SOURCE GNS Healthcare, Inc.