Big Data Alliance Aims to Advance Cancer Treatments

Merck and Project Data Sphere announce non-profit collaboration to unleash the power of global oncology data in the battle against cancer.

In strategic collaboration with Project Data Sphere LLC, Merck announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the independent not-for-profit initiative with the CEO Roundtable on Cancer’s Life Consortium to jointly lead the Global Oncology Big Data Alliance (GOBDA).

Merck said the GOBDA initiative will expand open access to de-identified patient data sets which, through Project Data Sphere’s innovative digital platform, will improve researcher’s analytical capabilities. The platform encompasses historical clinical trial data from nearly 100,000 patients garnered from a variety of institutional sources. According to Merck, the information has already led researchers to uncover “new and potentially practice-changing” findings.

Merck noted that leveraging big data with analytics “will help to optimize clinical trials, build a registry of data and help to enable advancement in the understanding of cancer treatment globally, with the mission to address the significant unmet needs in this field.” Merck explained researchers and clinicians will be able to better manage rare but serious immune-mediated disease via big data.

"Big data is changing the face of healthcare as we know it, and advances in our ability to collect data, share and analyze it has already led to ground-breaking work," said Dr Martin J. Murphy, CEO of Project Data Sphere LLC. "The joint force of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and Project Data Sphere will aim to connect and empower a truly global oncology community with these big data and analytical capabilities. We are excited about the Global Oncology Big Data Alliance initiative and the continuing engagement of a diverse community focused on finding solutions for cancer patients."

GOBDA, said the announcement, has plans to expand the platform to include rare tumor trial, experimental arm and real-world patient data.


Nigel Walker

Mr. Walker is the founder and managing director of That’s Nice LLC, a research-driven marketing agency with 20 years dedicated to life sciences. Nigel harnesses the strategic capabilities of Nice Insight, the research arm of That’s Nice, to help companies communicate science-based visions to grow their businesses. Mr. Walker earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design with honors from London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, England.