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Big Data Meets Big Biology in San Diego on March 31: The Agenda

Xconomy San Diego — 

In less than a month, Xconomy is bringing some of the big guns in life sciences together in San Diego to talk about the opportunities that are emerging for tech and software innovation in fields like genomics, biotechnology, and digital health. We can now give you a preview of what it’s going to look like.

There’s no question that big data and big biology are coming together in a big way. The only question is how it’s going to happen.

We’re laying out at least part of that roadmap on March 31 at “Big Data Meets Big Science” at the Illumina Theater at the Alexandria, which is on the Torrey Pines mesa at 10996 Torreyana Road. In genomics, much of the technology roadmap already has been charted by Illumina (NASDAQ: ILMN), the San Diego-based maker of next-generation genome sequencing technology, consumables, and genetic analysis tools—and Illumina president Francis deSouza is kicking off our forum.

DeSouza, who will be taking over as Illumina CEO in July, also will talk with venture investors about the bets they are placing on IT innovations in the life sciences. If you’re an entrepreneur, innovator, or investor in the IT sector, you’ll want to be there. I’ve asked other speakers to also highlight the big trends in their respective fields, and to provide examples of the innovation needs they see in high-performance computing, predictive analytics, data storage, and software development.

Examples abound:

—Grail, a San Francisco startup founded earlier this year, is developing diagnostic technology sensitive enough to detect early stage cancer. The nature of the technology challenge, though, became apparent when Grail recently named Jeff Huber—who spent 12 years as the top engineer at Google—as its CEO.

—You don’t need to be a data scientist to innovate in healthcare. Amid a public furor over drug pricing, Santa Monica, CA-based GoodRx and New York’s Blink Health have developed online tools that help consumers get their generic drugs at prices that are far lower than the prices pharmacies typically charge customers who are paying out of pocket instead of through insurance.

—In San Diego, Edico Genome has developed a processor that has been optimized specifically for next-generation genome sequencing machines—reducing the time needed to map a patient’s whole genome from 20 hours to 20 minutes.

Edico Genome is on our agenda. Edico’s founding CEO, Pieter Van Rooyen, will take the stage with one of his principal investors, Lucian Iancovici, a senior investment manager at Qualcomm Life, to discuss how Edico got started.

Nicholas Schork, professor and director of human biology at the J. Craig Venter Institute will provide an overview of the fast-moving trends in genomics, and offer his insights on IT needs. We’ll also hear from Franz Och, an expert in machine learning and language translation, explain why he left a plum job as the head of Google Translate to become the chief data scientist at Human Longevity, a San Diego startup founded by the human genome pioneer J. Craig Venter.

Finally, we have scheduled a series of quick pitches from CureMetrix, Sentrian, Nervana Systems, Applied Proteomics, and ChromaCode to highlight how the local tech community is innovating in life sciences

We’ve posted the agenda for Big Data Meets Big Bio here. Tickets are available at this link. I’m looking forward to this event, and to seeing you at the Alexandria at Torrey Pines on March 31.