Providence, Institute for Systems Biology affiliate in scientific wellness project

SEATTLE – March 14, 2016 – With the goal of bringing personalized medicine to every patient, Providence Health & Services and the Institute for Systems Biology announced today an affiliation that will transform health care to a proactive mode that is focused on keeping patients well and identifying the earliest opportunities to reverse or even prevent disease.

Leroy (Lee) Hood, MD, PhD, who was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Obama for his outstanding contributions to biology and medicine, will serve as senior vice president and chief science officer of Providence Health & Services, a five-state, not-for-profit health system, and continue as president of the Seattle-based ISB.

“This is an exciting moment for our patients,” stated Rod Hochman, MD, president and CEO of Providence Health & Services. “With Lee’s visionary leadership, ISB has transformed the global understanding of human diseases and pioneered the emerging sector of scientific wellness. Together, we will connect research and clinical expertise to shift health care delivery from a disease focus to a wellness focus.”

Providence and ISB will establish a number of joint research projects in scientific wellness, employing the approach of dense, dynamic personalized data clouds. These include: following and understanding early transitions from wellness to disease; analyzing patient populations longitudinally that are at risk for Alzheimer’s; helping breast cancer patients recover from illness following debilitating therapies; and utilizing novel approaches to successfully treat glioblastoma, an inevitably fatal type of brain tumor. These approaches will lead to medicine that is vastly improved in quality and significantly less expensive.

“Rod and his team are leading the way in driving the paradigm shift that is taking place in health care today,” stated Hood. “This, combined with Providence’s vast network of hospitals, outstanding clinicians, and the rich collection of data from the more than 3.3 million patients they serve will help accelerate discovery of powerful insights into scientific wellness and disease. Further, it will enable us for the first time ever to apply ISB-driven systems approaches for optimizing wellness and minimizing disease to patient care.”

ISB’s goal is to develop metrics to quantify scientific wellness and identify the earliest markers of transition for all common diseases. It is focused on generating dense, dynamic and personalized clouds of billions of de-identified data points that will provide unique insights into the wellness and disease of each individual over time. This will enable the understanding of disease mechanisms and the ability to design diagnostic and therapeutic tools that will allow the early reversal of disease back to wellness – or even prevent the onset of the disease in the first place. This represents a bold new approach to preventive medicine.

The affiliation will enable ISB to expand its research capacity during the next few years and recruit outstanding new faculty in the areas of systems biology, technology development, data and analytics and translational medicine. In addition, ISB will collaborate with the large pool of Providence affiliated clinicians and scientists in exciting new translational research initiatives that will build on the leading-edge programs in basic, translational and clinical research already underway at both institutions.

“This affiliation is an important step forward in applying innovations in biomedical research for the direct benefit of patients,” stated Dave Sabey, chair of the ISB board of directors. “This partnership will bring about the next generation of health care throughout one of the largest health systems in the United States.”

The ISB affiliation is through Western HealthConnect, the secular (non-religious) organization formed to allow Providence to remain Catholic and secular organizations to remain secular. This is the same model successfully used for Providence’s affiliations with Swedish Health Services, Pacific Medical Centers and Kadlec Regional Medical Center, all non-religious organizations. ISB will remain a separate legal entity with its own brand and identity and board of directors. ISB will continue to set its own research agenda and oversee its daily management and operations.

Both Providence and ISB are committed to transferring knowledge to society through commercialization of tools and technologies that will advance personalized medicine. ISB has spun off eight companies in the 15 years of its existence, including: Accelerator Corporation, Arivale, Indi (Integrated Diagnostics) and NanoString Technologies (NASDAQ: NSTG). In 2014, Providence founded Providence Ventures, a fund designed to achieve venture class returns through direct investments in innovative health care companies that improve quality, convenience and health outcomes. Providence and ISB plan to increase synergy between investment and innovation.