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ISB, Providence Health Ally on Healthcare Delivery Research

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The Institute for Systems Biology and Providence Health & Services have formed an alliance to research and optimize the detection of disease indicators and the delivery of healthcare. 

Under the terms of the agreement, the ISB will become an affiliate of Providence, and ISB President and Co-founder Lee Hood will join Providence as senior VP and chief science officer. The partners will establish several data-intensive joint research projects, including  following and understanding early transitions from wellness to disease, longitudinally analyzing patient populations at risk for Alzheimer's disease, helping breast cancer patients recover from illness following damaging therapies, and using novel approaches to treat glioblastoma.

The ISB will also collaborate with Providence-affiliated clinician scientists on existing basic, translational, and clinical research.

Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

"With Lee's visionary leadership, ISB has transformed the global understanding of human diseases and pioneered the emerging sector of scientific wellness," Providence President and CEO Rod Hochman said in a statement. "Together, we will connect research and clinical expertise to shift health care delivery from a disease focus to a wellness focus."

The alliance comes as Renton, Washington-based Providence pushes to further develop technology-driven measures of patient health. In August 2014, Providence partnered with NantHealth on a clinical sequencing network.

The ISB said it will use its approach of personalized "clouds" of de-identified data points to characterize wellness and disease in patients. It further added that the new alliance will enable it to expand its research capacity and recruit new faculty in systems biology, technology development, data and analytics, and translational medicine. In May 2015, Hood announced encouraging results from the pilot stage of its 100K Wellness Project.

Officially, Seattle-based ISB will form an alliance with Western HealthConnect, a non-religious entity that has allowed the Catholic-affiliated Providence to expand its reach into non-religious health care systems in the Pacific Northwest. ISB will remain a separate legal entity with its own board of directors and will continue to set its own research agenda and maintain daily operations.

The partners said they are committed to commercializing tools and technologies developed in the alliance. They noted that ISB has spun off eight companies, including NanoString Technologies and Arivale, and Providence founded a venture fund in 2014.