Singapore – October 06, 2022: Vedanta’s BALCO Medical Centre (BMC), one of India’s leading cancer hospitals, and Anuva, a genomics biotech company with a centre in India and backed by a UK-based hub, on Thursday jointly announced a strategic collaboration to build a Cancer Genomics Biobank for cancer research in India.

Anuva and BMC aim to use this cancer bio/data bank for clinical research to identify relevant insights for precision medicine application for cancer in India.

The companies said the collaboration leverages the strengths of both organisations – the clinical expertise of BALCO Medical Centre and Anuva’s biobanking and genomic expertise.

“This is another milestone in the journey of BALCO Medical Centre towards becoming India’s cancer care destination,” said Jyoti Agarwal, Chairperson of BALCO Medical Centre.

“Our collaboration with Anuva will bring together the best of knowledge, technology and research to serve the people of India better, through precision medicine and targeted treatment,” she said.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by Dr Jonathan Picker, CEO of Anuva, and Dr Bhawna Sirohi, Medical Director of BMC, at the BALCO Medical Centre at Naya Raipur in Chhattisgarh.

“I am tremendously excited to embark on this endeavour with BALCO Medical Centre. Despite all the research, cancer still remains the third leading cause of death. As a genetic disease, the research needs to be personalized to the affected populations,” said Dr Picker.

“This partnership will provide us a bridge to support “bench to bedside” research, driving our efforts to accelerate progress in treating cancer and also help patients with cancer live longer with better quality of life,” added Dr Sirohi.

A cancer focused bio/data bank is aimed at helping both organisations accelerate discoveries by bringing together biological factors with the background risk elements, at a population level, to find the critical genes that drive cancer. The resulting knowledge is expected to improve understanding of how genetic variants influence cancer, thereby, increasing effectiveness of diagnosis and treatment.

About BALCO Medical Centre

BMC marks the flagship initiative of the Vedanta Medical Research Foundation (VMRF), a non-profit organisation initiative of Vedanta Resources and Bharat Aluminium Company Ltd (BALCO), to contribute towards prevention of cancer.

Read about it on Economic Times here

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Dr. Jonathan Picker Chief Executive Office

Dr. Jonathan Picker is an affiliate faculty member and clinical geneticist at Boston's Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School.

With 25 years of experience in Pediatrics and Genetics, Dr. Picker specializes in the interface of clinical care and applied genetic and genomic research. Dr. Picker's research spans diagnostic tools in genetics to descriptive analysis of rare disorders to molecular neuroscience. He was the co-founder and Director of the first Pediatric Pharmacogenomic clinic in the USA; as well as Director of the Harvard Medical School Advanced Human Genetics Training Program Course.

Dr. Picker is the recipient of various prestigious awards, including the first Sidney R. Baer Jr. Prize for Mental health Research. He has authored numerous research papers involving informative cases, molecular biology, behavioral neuroscience, applied clinical genetic guidelines as well as invited reviews and chapters.

Dr. Picker holds a bachelor's degree of Medical Biology in Genetics, and an MBChB in Medicine from Aberdeen University, UK. He also holds an MS in Genetics and Biochemistry and a PhD in Molecular Biology from Newcastle University, UK.

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Kushagra SharmaPresident & Board Member

Kushagra Sharma is a seasoned business leader with a career spanning entrepreneurship as well as general management, Kushagra has deep expertise in developing and executing business plans in start-ups as well as large corporations. He is responsible for the revenue growth of the business, strategic planning, and partnerships at Anuva.

Before joining Anuva, he was responsible for the strategy and project execution in launching 4G digital services for Reliance Jio in India. Kushagra has previously served in leadership roles in companies like British Telecom, MTS Sistema Shyam, Grail Research and Evalueserve.

He holds a bachelor's degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and an MBA from INSEAD, Fontainebleau.

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Dr. Asmi ShahVice President of Data and Technology

Dr. Asmi Shah brings in her data science expertise in dealing with big data, managing and standardizing multidisciplinary large scale biological datasets in the field of drug discovery through genomics and phenomics. She is responsible for the research and development of end to end software products and workflows.

Before joining Anuva, she contributed to the research of drug discovery done with the use of high content/throughput screening on various zebrafish assays at University of Heidelberg in Germany and at Harvard Medical School, USA. She has also taken up various technical roles in product management and software R&D with different corporate industries such as Intel, Rambus and Inform Technologies in the USA and with data analytics startups in India.

Dr. Shah holds a bachelor’s degree from Saurashtra University, India, an MS from San Jose State University, USA and has pursued her PhD from University of Heidelberg, Germany under a Marie Curie fellowship.

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Dr. Nick England Vice President of Bioinformatics

Dr. Nick England brings with him over 10 years of commercial bioinformatics experience. He is responsible for the development of bespoke bioinformatics software and pipelines to maximize biological insight from our data.

Before joining Anuva, he worked at Kymab where he developed the bioinformatics used in IntelliSelect for processing and visualizing antibodies from humanized mice, as well as implementing continuous integration and shifting computation to the cloud. This successful informatics platform is now also used by other companies such as LifeArc and Petmedix. He has previously worked on cheminformatics projects with Unilever and Novartis.

Dr. England holds an MSci degree in Natural Sciences as well as a PhD in cheminformatics from the University of Cambridge.

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Abhishek Kumar Board Director

Abhishek Kumar brings in extensive experience of acquiring, merging, carving out and repositioning companies globally. He founded Joulon - a KKR company, and has led large scale distributed businesses globally.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and an MBA from Harvard Business School.