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The Advanced Courses and Scientific Conferences team and the BioData Innovation Centre together hosted the world's first genomes and biodata hackathon with an entrepreneurial flavour in search of the next big idea in health.

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Who attended?

Over the course of 48 hours, 111 hackers worked tirelessly across 5 challenges, grouped into 18 teams and helped by 20 mentors from incubator and accelerator programmes and Cambridge health tech companies. Our delegates came from a range of academic and commercial settings right across the UK.

We had an overwhelmingly positive response from delegates and partners:

"Thanks to all the teams for your excellent work, we have been very impressed by you all."

- AstraZeneca, Hackathon 2018 partner

"It was great to meet so many smart, enthusiastic people over the last couple of days.
As the non-scientists in the room, we were inspired by the clear focus on patient outcomes, practical clinician support and the role user-centered design plays in research. Top effort."

- SIGMA, Hackathon 2018 partner

"I want to thank everybody for organising this amazing experience. We worked with ARM team and their support and help was invaluable. From the organisation, to the rooms and pizza and meeting amazing people very very well done, thank you everybody!!"

- Hackathon 2018 participant

What were we hacking?

In a nutshell, we want to create a brighter and healthier future for people all over the world.

This two-day event provided hackers with an opportunity to creatively and collaboratively address challenges in the sphere of genomes and biodata, working on solutions that offer real-world impact for patients.

17 Judges from academic and research institutions, business angels and CEOs of leading health tech companies decided the winners for each challenge.

5 Grand Challenges were:

ARM- Atos-Cavium: How can we use mobile technology to transform biological data processing?
AstraZeneca: How can we map disease-drug target relationships using artificial intelligence?
Medicines Discovery Catapult: How can we combine drug and genetic data to intelligently prescribe drugs?
Microsoft: How can we design a clinical trial around the patient's home?
Open Targets: How can we predict opportunities to repurpose drugs to treat unmet patient need?

The winning teams

For the ARM | Atos | Cavium challenge, the overall winners were team “GoGut” -A mobile, AI-augmented device to allow patients with gut diseases to monitor their own microbiome.

ARM Cavium Atos winning team for the hackathon

Caption: Team “GoGut” hacking ways to use data processing on a mobile device: Alessia Visconti (KCL), Jun Aruga (Red Hat Czech s.r.o.), Oliver Giles (SciBite Ltd), Zhang Chen (University of Cambridge and University of Copenhagen ) and Ioannis Valasakis (KANO Computing).

More about the solution from Team GoGut, in this blog article by Oliver Giles.

For the AstraZeneca challenge, overall winners were team “Topologically INformed DRug-discovery (TINDR)” a solution that uses deep learning to identify fine-scale features of protein interactions that may predict candidates for drug targeting.

AstraZeneca MedImmune winning team hackathon 2018

Caption: Team “TINDR” planning: Jonas Bovijn (University of Oxford), Christopher Cole (Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics), Chris Eijsbouts (University of Oxford), Héléna Gaspar (King's College London) and Timothy Jenkins (University of Cambridge).

Medicines Discovery Catapult’s challenge winner was team “Prescription 1.5”. They secured the top prize by integrating content text-mined from drug labels with genetic variant data and relevant clinical test to develop a solution to highlight genetic factors influencing drug efficacy and safety that would support clinicians at the point of prescription.

MDC winning team hackathon 2018

Caption: Team “Prescription 1.5” hacking ways to improve the prescription process: Alex Brown (GSK), Michael Hughes (SciBite Ltd), Joseph Mullen (SciBite Ltd), Michaela Sptizer (Open Targets EMBL-EBI) and Jan Wildenhain (AstraZeneca).

Find out more about how this solution was developed from this blog article by Joseph Mullen and Michael Hughes.

Read also: "Hacking genetic drug data at the Wellcome Genome Hackathon 2018" by Medicines Discovery Catapult.

Microsoft’s challenge prize was awarded to team “D-Box” for their technical and infrastructural proposal providing the ability for drug trial patients to take part in a clinical trial from their own home.

Microsoft winning hackathon team

Caption: Team “D-BOX” practicing their pitch: James Cameron (U. Birmingham), Ilan Shiradski (GSK), Eric Tse (GSK), James Welsh (Medicines Discovery Catapult) and Mike Westaway (Microsoft).

The Open Targets challenge winners were team “Repurposr” with a solution that uses known drug-symptom relationships to identify candidates for drug repurposing, helping clinical researchers find potential treatments for patients with unusual symptoms.

Open Targets winning team

Caption: Team " Repurposr” settling into their hacking phase towards the end of Day 1: Jonathan Coleman (KCL), Ken Hanscombe (KCL), Rebecca Harrison (KCL), Simon Hazlewood-Smith (Science Practice), Elodie Persyn (KCL) and Robert Power (University of Oxford).

Read a blog article by Simon Hazlewood-Smith from the winning team of the Open Targets Challenge.


Wellcome Genome Campus Conference Centre, Hinxton, CB10 1RQ

The Advanced Courses and Scientific Conferences team and the BioData Innovation Centre are hosting a two-day festival style hackathon in search of the next big idea in health.

With thanks to all Hackathon 2018 partners

Hackathon 2018 event sponsors

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