BlackBerry to preload NantHealth's genome browser on some PassPort smartphones for MDs

By Aditi Pai
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Dr Patrick Soon-ShiongBlackBerry announced plans to add a genome browser app, powered by NantHealth, to its Blackberry Passport smartphone next year. The company will demo this service, called the NantOmics Cancer Genome Browser, at the Consumer Electronics Show in January and will preload the service on select BlackBerry Passport phones in early 2015.

NantOmics will provide oncologists access to their patients' genetic data, which will allow them to view individual genetic alternations that, as BlackBerry explains, makes each patient's disease unique. Access to this platform will also help doctors highlight relevant treatment options. BlackBerry also said this service is the first in a series of offerings that the company plans to develop with NantHealth for healthcare professionals. 

"The proprietary NantOmics Cancer Genome Browser enables clinicians for the first time to investigate a tumor genome from the full three billion bases down to the single-base level in real-time, thanks to the power of the NantOmics supercomputing infrastructure," NantHealth Founder and CEO Patrick Soon-Shiong said in a statement. "This integrates with NantHealth's treatment recommendation engine, Eviti, to personalize treatment protocols to individual patients based on their genomic signature."

Soon-Shiong added that because BlackBerry already powers many diagnostic machines that clinicians rely on, it makes sense to add more offerings to BlackBerry's smartphones. He explains that NantOmics puts dozens of supercomputers, through mobile devices, into the doctor's hands.

In April, BlackBerry announced an investment in NantHealth, which said at the time that about 250 hospitals were now using its cloud-based, clinical decision support platform. Although BlackBerry didn't disclose the dollar amount of the investment, the funding was part of NantHealth's $320 million round led by Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) with participation from Verizon, Celgene, BlackBerry, and Blackstone. KIA contributed $250 million to the round.