The potential of genomics has long been understood, but has not yet been unleashed for most of humanity. Those of us who have been contributing to and following the advances in leveraging genetic data to more accurately diagnose and more effectively treat individuals, while improving healthcare on a massive scale, are chronically frustrated that the speed of commercialization has not kept up with the speed of innovation. How can we change that?
There are many fine organizations creating communities around the components required to create genomics-related solutions that are affordable, reliable, and commercially viable to go mainstream. However, until now, there has been no “ecosystem lens” applied to the challenges. We are making progress in each of these domains but we are not always connecting the dots. We need to be investing in the same type of systems integration and cooperation that lead to the explosive growth of mobile communications, a great example of this type of collaboration.
Having been part of the community that built the underpinnings of the internet of today, I learned that building ecosystems based on standards and industry roadmaps simply works. And it works big.
The analogies are quite clear. In order for independent technologies and services to take off and be consumed globally, including in the developing world which is experiencing the greatest amount of growth in mobile communications today, these factors matters:
- Industry Vision: an organized timeline for rolling out solutions from inception through innovation through testing and certification to adoption and commercialization
- Science: continual advancement in the study of genetics
- Technology: hardware and software that supports, in the case of genomics, the collection of human, plant or other material samples, the performance of analysis on those samples, the presentation and validation of the information, and associated protocols based on the results
- Networks: resilient networks (including the Internet) that enable the consistent and predictable transmission of data
- Data Processing: systems which can aggregate, store and share information
- Analytics: creating insights and actionable value
- Security: privatization of information, protection in transport and storage
- Standards: ability for solutions and systems to be efficiently integrated with a common “lingua franca” and software protocols
- Communications and Education: continual sharing of information and academic programs supporting the development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs
- Policy: government and NGO cooperation on setting policy in a way that is both “sovereign” based on the existing standards for healthcare, for example, as well as “social” – enabling every region in the world to benefit in order that we do not limit those in need from having access to quality care, better foods, cleaner water, and more.
When harmonized, these ten points can help every individual and business, government and non-profit, who grasps the potential of genomics to accelerate more efficiently and effectively. While I did not list “access to capital” in my ten points, growth will rely upon sustainable sources of capital. This will enable us to educate, coordinate, build, market, and expand. A massive amount of capital has already gone into the Genomics industry (many billions), and the industry is expected to grow many billions in the next 10 years.
With cooperation and orchestration, we can also reduce the risks financiers take in backing the science, equipment, R&D, staffing, sales, marketing, testing, and security necessary for quality growth and sustainable success.
It’s time for us to gather now. Let’s build a Social Global Genomics platform where ideas can be shared, standards can be created and support can be given across the board, tearing down the silos that are never healthy for any emerging industry.
Let’s bring Sovereign Genomic Programs “in a box” to the developing world where we can make getting started so much easier.
Let’s learn from the challenges and successes of other industries, like the mobile communications industry, and move forward together with less chaos, more creativity, more collaboration and more communications. By doing so in 2015, future decades will be that much brighter.