New Zealand announces its own precision medicine initiative

10 October 2016

The $37.8 million (NZ) Precision Driven Health Care Partnership was officially launched at the University of Auckland on October 5th.

The partnership, a collaboration between the University of Auckland, Ministry of Business, local health board and software company Orion Health is billed as "one of the largest data science research initiatives to be undertaken in this country, which aims to position New Zealand at the forefront of precision medicine globally".

The announcement is the latest in a serious of high profile government backed projects, such as the UK 100,000 Genomes Project, or the US Precision Medicine Initiative. Although the New Zealand based partnership is less expansive, it is quite specifically focused on the role new data technologies have to play.

The partnership has four key themes, three of which focus research on the i mportance of data to precision healthcare (and the fourth on patient empowerment). Orion Health is a New Zealand based software company, who have developed a system they call Amadeus, billed as the ‘ultimate technology for precision medicine’.

The University of Auckland’s press release explains that the NZ $37.8 million dollars will go towards funding multidisciplinary research projects, resulting in ‘a major step forward in data driven health outcomes’. It is hoped that the partnership will expand over the course of the seven year agreement.

In the press release, Professor Gill Dobbie, lead Scientist for the partnership, comments that : "…collaboration between industry, government and the tertiary sector is not only timely but ensures New Zealand is at the forefront of advanced science in this field".

 

The latest report from Orion Health for the partnership, Introduction to Machine Learning in Healthcare, sets out a vision of the future whereby the vast volume of health-related data will be harnessed by computer algorithms driven by machine learning.

 

Look out for the Foundation’s new Healthcare Futures series guide to machine learning, coming soon!