Last thursday 26 April, saw the conclusion in Barcelona of the first edition of GRIB EXPO, a symposium organised by the Research Programme on Biomedical Informatics (GRIB - IMIM/ UPF). The aim of the EXPO was to bring Biomedical Informatics closer to the clinical sector and to industrial innovation, with a view to promoting the open exchange of ideas and cooperation.
With around a hundred attendees from both the industrial and the clinical sectors and the participation of more than 80 high-level scientific researchers focused on Biomedical Informatics, GRIB EXPO was a unique opportunity to explore how this discipline can offer innovative strategies in both basic and clinical research as well as in industrial innovation, especially as regards the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors.
The symposium began with an explanation of the two lines of research currently being conducted by the GRIB and was structured into two poster sessions in which each of the ten groups that make up the group presented their most significant results. These included the IntoGen project, aimed at developing software to integrate genomic data for the identification of genes involved in cancer. It is worth mentioning that GRIB has ample experience in participating in European projects, many of them also entailing industrial cooperation.
The symposium ended with a round table attended by such speakers from the industrial sector as Dr Josep Prous, Vice-president for R&D of the Prous Institute for Biomedical Research, and Dr Rosalía Pascual, Manager of Knowledge and Modelling at Laboratorios Esteve, and from the clinical sector, by Dr Joaquim Gea, Head of the Pneumology Department of the Hospital del Mar and Coordinator of the Research Group on Myogenesis, Inflammation and Muscle Function of the IMIM (Hospital del Mar Research Institute). Using the benefit of their personal experience, they all explained instances of how Biomedical Informatics can provide innovative solutions in their respective fields.
Dr Ferran Sanz, Director of the Programme on Biomedical Informatics (GRIB) and organiser of the GRIB EXPO, explained that “the symposium responds to one of the GRIB’s strategic objectives, which is to increase cooperation with the business fabric while initiating an approach to the clinical sector where Biomedical Informatics can offer numerous innovative solutions of huge practical value”. These would include predicting the toxicity of potential new medicines or analysing the huge amount of genetic information produced by advanced sequencing techniques.
Dr Andrés Fernández, Director of the Area of Innovation in Biotechnology at Laboratorios Ferrer qualified the event as “an excellent forum to identify new technological approaches that increase the effectiveness of Drug Discovery and that allows making straightforward progress in simulation and virtualization processes. A unique opportunity to explore collaborations between the academic and industrial sectors”.
The GRIB EXPO has been a magnificent opportunity to explore possible areas of cooperation and establish contacts with participants from both the clinical and the industrial sectors. Those who attended considered the initiative highly positive and expect to repeat their attendance at the next edition.