Baltimore Poised to Become a World-Leading Hub of Multi-Billion Dollar Bioinformatics Industry

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Local Scientists Predict Baltimore will become a leading technology epicenter in the field of bioinformatics, a fast-growing industry in which computer technology is used to analyze complex biological data to fight aging and age-related diseases, such as cancer, says InSilico Medicine, Inc.

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On the heels of a report predicting bioinformatics will be a $13 billion industry by 2020 (click here to review news coverage about the report by Markets and Markets), computer scientists believe Baltimore has the talent to become a world-leading center of the young and fast-growing industry in which genetic code and other biological data are collected and analyzed to help scientists discover new drugs and cure disease. “Baltimore contains all the elements of a perfect storm for bioinformatics leadership,” said Dr. Owen White, Associate Director of Informatics at the Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS) at the University of Maryland School Of Medicine. “With our close ties to tech-savvy government agencies like the NIH, NIA and NSA, local tech firms shifting their focus to health IT, and computer science programs at Johns Hopkins, UMB, UMBC and the University of Maryland at College Park, Baltimore has a chance to lead the world in bioinformatics.”

Over the past decade, computers have become an integral part of every industry and biological research is no different. Because computer technology has dramatically accelerated the rate at which scientists are able to acquire and analyze biological data, the cost to sequence the human genome has fallen exponentially. It once cost tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars to sequence a single genome. Now, the cost is somewhere around $1,000 and a single machine can sequence hundreds, even thousands of genomes a year. As more people get their genome sequenced, the data generated will be analyzed by bioinformatics engineers to create personalized treatments for cancer, Alzheimer’s and other diseases. The software engineers who analyze this data will be at the forefront of sweeping change in the healthcare industry.

One scientist who believes in Baltimore and bioinformatics is Dr Alex Zhavoronkov. Zhavoronkov's company, Insilico Medicine, based on the campus of John Hopkins University, is a bioinformatics company using computer science to fight aging and age-related diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer's disease. The company believes bioinformatics will help science make discoveries that stall the aging process, extending the limit of the human lifespan to 140 or even 150 years. "North America is dominating the global bioinformatics market," said Zhavoronkov. "But no US city has yet to emerge as a central hub of bioinformatics talent and research. When huge medical breakthroughs are announced in the next few years as a result of big data computer analysis, I want those announcements to come from Baltimore."

"There are thousands of talented computer scientists graduating from college over the next few weeks who want to do more with their careers than work at an internet startup," said Zhavoronkov. "In the bioinformatics industry, we’re fighting to end cancer and extend the human lifespan to at least 150 years. This is a very exciting field!”

Zhavoronkov is taking his passion and his mission statement to Baltimore city and civic leaders over the next few weeks to recruit partners and engineers for his growing company. He plans to present his vision at the upcoming Maryland Incubator Company of the Year Competition in early June at the American Visionary Art Museum.

As West Baltimore rebuilds and the entire city recovers from last month's looting and riots, local scientists wants to make the city an international hub for the young and cutting-edge industry of bioinformatics.

About Insilico Medicine
Insilico Medicine, Inc. is a Baltimore-based company utilizing advances in genomics and big data analysis for in silico drug discovery and drug repurposing for aging and age-related diseases. The company utilizes the GeroScope™, OncoFinder™ , Pathway Cloud Intelligence™ and PharmAtlas™ packages for aging and cancer research, pursues internal drug discovery programs, and provides services to pharmaceutical companies.

If you have any questions about the science of aging, bioinformatics, or Insilico Medicine's plans in anti-aging research and drug discovery, please call (443) 451- 7212 or visit: http://www.insilicomedicine.com.

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Qingsong Zhu, PhD
@InSilicoMeds
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InSilico Medicine
since: 03/2014
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