The Hyve’s team, consisting of Harry, Wouter, Melissa, Nikola, and I (Jessica), recently participated in the BioTechX Congress (formerly called Biodata World Congress) held from 8th to 10th November in Basel, Switzerland. After last year's successful conference, we returned to Basel with high expectations and were delighted by the experience this year's event offered: high-quality talks in various tracks, meaningful conversations with the attendees, and networking opportunities with like-minded people. Let's revisit the conference together!
BioTechX Europe is one of Europe's largest congresses covering diagnostics, precision medicine, and digital transformation in pharmaceutical development and healthcare. The congress featured speakers from the top 50 pharmaceutical companies, biotechs, healthcare systems, and academic groups. So there were plenty of networking opportunities for us. Also, the conference’s 17 high-level content tracks, including the four sub-brands Biodata World, Genomics Live, Cheminformatics Live, and PharmAI, make this a conference that we don’t want to miss.
Our Hyver delegation traveled from Utrecht to Basel. We brought along great merchandise and excitement for the event. Since the colleagues attending the conference work in different teams, this six-hour train journey was also an excellent opportunity to get better acquainted with each other’s work. (It’s one of the reasons why I like conferences!).
All of the colleagues manning The Hyve’s booth during the conference thoroughly enjoyed the experience of sharing our vision for collaboration in life sciences and how The Hyve is working towards that. Over the three days of the conference, we had numerous meaningful conversations on the topics of open source, cancer genomics, recent developments in drug discovery, real-world data, the FAIR principles, and research data management, to name a few. All in all, we were very happy to catch up with old partners and connect with new potential customers and collaborators.
Najat Khan, Chief Data Science Officer and Global Head of R&D Strategy and Operations at Janssen had a great opening keynote. She elaborated on the theme 'Unlocking the power of data science to change the trajectory of human health.' A quote from the talk that resonated with Harry and me was: "Every single data point represents a patient." To us, this statement reiterates the importance of using all this precious patient data wisely to ensure we develop solutions that lead to better healthcare.
On the second day of the conference, our Strategic Data Consultant, Wouter Franke, gave a talk on "Designing for Data Reusability - FAIR and Federated" in the Data Integration + FAIR track. His presentation was about implementing a FAIR and federated environment for the analysis of data across a large number of organizations. It goes beyond FAIR's acronym to explain how to design for reusability. In the talk, he shared the example of the Dutch long-term healthcare system and how it must achieve interoperability on multiple levels to build a trusted data environment. One of the design choices within this use case is to focus on semantic interoperability because it is not feasible to harmonize data format levels between 700 organizations. If you missed the presentation in person and are interested in this topic, you can view Wouter's slides here.
Looking back at the conference, here’s what two of my colleagues had to say:
“As a representative of The Hyve’s Real World Data (RWD) team, the BioTechX was a fruitful learning experience. I was able to network and share visions of what it takes to truly enable large-scale harmonized data sharing and work toward answering important, otherwise unanswerable, RWD-driven questions. It struck me that the colleagues in the same industry present at this conference are enthusiastic and open to grounded discussions. This creates a collaborative atmosphere leading to exciting new potential in the field.” - Nikola Nacev
“The pandemic changed everything, but what it didn't change was the drive to accelerate health innovation. With BiotechX, the who's who of pharma, academia, and healthcare were present to give their insights on precision medicine, diagnostics, and digital transformation that will save healthcare professionals valuable time. Representing the Hyve, I had insightful and meaningful conversations about our mission of enabling open science by providing open-source solutions and FAIRyfing data. This solves the constant challenge of fostering open collaboration among researchers in drug discovery and accelerating drug development. I will definitely be back next year!” - Melissa Fernando
We’re looking back on a wonderful time in Basel. We were all delighted to be surrounded by leaders in biotechnology, pharma, fast-growing industry start-ups, and established solution providers who give us an insight into where the industry is heading next. Our conversations connected us to people, ideas, and opportunities across Europe. We shared information about our tools, services, and innovations, how we want to propel the life science research forward, and how we want to help build a global network for precision medicine. Needless to say, we look forward to attending next year's BioTechX Conference!