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Did Mystic Eagle get it right for 2013?

At the end of 2012, Richard Holland, our Chief Business Officer, made a series of predictions about what would happen in 2013. With the end of the year fast approaching, we take this opportunity to look back and see how well our resident prognosticator did in predicting the emerging trends of 2013, or not.

1. Oxford Nanopore will release its first commercially available sequencer onto the general market.

The jury is still out on this one as we still haven’t seen it, but Oxford Nanopore is due to release it. 1 mark.

2. Cloud will become more popular in pharma IT, with Amazon retaining the bulk of the market share, and more and more early stage R&D (but not clinical yet) will be done in it.

A fairly easy prediction, but absolutely correct. 2 marks.

3. In the face of ever-increasing data set sizes, the market for integrated R&D IT systems will become established with all the major sequencing and bioinformatics players announcing their own solutions. By integrated, we mean systems where users can apply multiple arbitrary analyses to big data without needing to move the data around.

While Amazon Web Services is doing this, we haven’t had the big announcements from other large players. 1 mark.

4. Someone will invent the first mobile app for remotely managing and analysing NGS data. It won't be very good, but it will be a start. It'll almost certainly be an iPhone or iPad app.

Centrillion Biosciences did launch mSeq, so part right. However, it was an Android app, so only 1 mark.

5. The term "life sciences" will be redefined to include all of biology, not just human health, as the rapidly decreasing cost of sequencing allows huge numbers of players from non-pharma industries to join in the fun of NGS.

Absolutely correct. In particular, Eagle has made great progress into new areas such as fast moving consumer goods and food. 2 marks.

6. There will be at least two major mergers between big pharma as consolidation continues in the industry.

No serious mergers as yet, so no marks on this one.

7. The first legal case for genetic discrimination will hit the US courts and will almost certainly be insurance-related.

It hasn’t happened yet, although it’s probably just around the corner. No marks on this one.

8. Economic constraints will begin to ease and the massive cuts and reductions in R&D spending in recent years will see a reversal, with an overall increase in global life science R&D spending reported by the end of the year.

It looks like companies are starting to spend and in particular the life sciences industry has seen a number of acquisitions as companies start to use the cash they’ve been saving. 2 marks. 9. The continuing growth in bioinformatics data combined with the less spectacular growth in the number of bioinformaticians available to hire will see a modest but necessary increase in the number of companies outsourcing all or part of their bioinformatics function. Absolutely right as more companies are entering the market, particularly in the US. 2 marks

10. Some clever person will invent a way of 3D-printing a medical device to the exact specifications of the patient's body, maybe a pacemaker or a set of dentures, thus introducing a whole new world of personalised devices to accompany the arrival of personalised medicine. Will anything be standard anymore?

Although it’s been talked about no one has quite done it yet. 1 mark for the clever thinking.

Total Marks: 12 out of 20, so a score of 60%.

CEOs comment

While Richard has obviously worked very hard on this, his predictions have not been totally accurate. That said, he did get more than half correct and, while he may have got a few wrong, he is likely to be correct at a later date. I look forward to seeing Richard’s next wave of predictions for 2014. Keep up the good work, Richard.

(Mystic Eagle will return with 2014's predictions in January. Watch this space...)

2013 Bioinformatics Bioinformatics Cloud Eagle IT mystic predictions R&D research

Abel Ureta-Vidal

About Abel Ureta-Vidal

With more than 12 years of bioinformatics experience and a scientific background in molecular biology and immune-virology (PhD from the Pasteur Institute, France), Abel first mastered bioinformatics tools and code in the early 90s whilst working on viral phylogenetic studies. After his PhD, he joined the effort at Genoscope (Evry, France), in ramping up the human genome project, putting in place the automatic gene annotation system for human chromosome 14. In 2001, Abel moved to the European Bioinformatics Institute (Cambridge, UK) where he led the Ensembl comparative genomics team until 2007. He founded Eagle shortly before graduating from the Cambridge Judge Business School MBA program in 2008.

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