Flywheel — Next Generation Research Collaboration

By October 18, 2017February 14th, 2020News

Millions of families are struggling with many unresolved diseases and large, complicated healthcare challenges. In neuroscience alone, billions of dollars are spent each year on Alzheimer’s, traumatic brain injury, autism, and other behavioral and neurodegenerative diseases.

The good news is that every day advances in technology and analytics are enabling scientists around the world to make amazing advances. The bad news is that the increasing complexity of new technologies is making it very difficult to share and build and build on each other’s work.

Flywheel offers a cloud-scale collaborative science platform to tackle these issues across both commercial and academic research. We are founded by a collaboration with leading universities and are solving problems every researcher faces on a regular basis. The end goal is to accelerate discovery through collaboration and reproducible research.

Let’s face it: computational science is becoming complicated. The size of the data and complexity of the data is increasing.  The tools and methods are also getting more complex. There are pressures from regulatory agencies to protect data, and pressures from funding agencies to share data, and pressures from publishing companies to promote open science. We are solving these next-generation problems.

Scientists around the world take for granted the ability to share personal data. Yet, sharing scientific data and methods in scaled and secure way it not as easy, often not even possible.  

We believe we can address these issues with a cloud-scale research platform that fosters collaboration and reproducible results.

A well-known study published in Nature states that “More than 70% of researchers have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist’s experiments, and more than half have failed to reproduce their own experiments”.  As science works through corroboration, this is a big problem and solving it will speed-up discoveries and unlock the potential of disruptive innovations.

So how do we do this?  We provide an open, extensible platform for organizing and managing diverse medical data. We are able to capture and organize large amounts of data from virtually any source to make it easy to find and use.  We leverage the power and scale of cloud infrastructure dramatically speed-up analysis. We enable collaboration and sharing in a secured and controlled way across labs, institutions, or across the globe. Basically, instead of moving huge volumes of data and replicating complex infrastructure, we bring the scientist to the data.

Flywheel targets researchers in both academic and commercial pharma/biotech. Reproducibility is critical to pharmaceutical and biotech companies as they validate any compound, biomarker, or diagnostic being considered for commercialization. Fundamentally it is about translational medicine and accelerating time to market.  We have customers today in the pharma space that are using Flywheel to manage distributed multi-site trials with academic collaborators.

Although, our initial focus is Neuroimaging, we are designed for multi-modality research.  Our team has expertise in medical imaging, specifically neuroimaging and MRI.  Research is increasingly multi-modality and multi-disciplinary, which provides a rich trajectory of adjacent markets, within imaging and also non-imaging based data.

The product is well received and our install base is growing.  We have 20 sites installed with leading institutions across the globe. We are particularly excited about our expanding work at Stanford University and Columbia University where we are moving towards institution-wide deployments. At Columbia alone, we have potential to connect up to 25 MRI systems and 100s of labs collaborating using Flywheel. We are excited about the viral nature of the product, which has led us to new opportunities at University of Pennsylvania, New York University, and others.

Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to develop Flywheel!