Many of the information technologies deployed in the Smart Enterprise Wave are now being applied to the biosciences. Biological signals of unprecedented richness and volume are being combined with improvements in big data analysis, revealing increasing information about the human body and other living systems, illuminating complex cellular processes, and creating incredible investment opportunities. We call the confluence of innovations in biological and computational technologies the Bio-IT Wave.
What’s driving it?
Propelling the Bio-IT Wave is recent progress in genetic engineering, electronic medical records, and DNA sequencing. We can now induce yeast and bacteria to synthesize new products (biomanufacturing), reprogram our immune systems to hunt cancer (immuno-oncology), decode our genomes to understand disease risk and treatment effects (precision medicine), and catalog the microbes that inhabit our bodies and affect our health (the microbiome). Genetic sequencing has become straightforward and affordable, allowing us to characterize a wide array of plant and animal genes holding promise for improving nutrition, reducing environmental impact, and producing new classes of antibiotics and other drugs. The amount of genomics data produced by academic researchers alone is doubling every 7 months, progress so dramatic that the limiting factor is no longer data production but data analysis. Biology is now as much a data science as a lab science.