“Korea drugmakers can make giant leaps with big data.”
Yi Hong-gi, CEO of Corezetta, a pioneer in the field of healthcare big data, jumped to that conclusion while outlining big data’s unlimited potential and stressing the need for the companies to understand how to use it properly.
Yi is a leading expert in using the big data at Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service (HIRA) to help pharmaceuticals make decisions on developing new drugs. His company receives 1.45 million pieces of patient data from the health agency and processes the data into essential platforms for developing medicines.
The company is providing four platforms -- GLAS, Pharmazetta, PBD, and Design lab – to over 50 domestic and multinational pharmaceutical companies in Korea.
|Yi Hong-gi, CEO of Corezetta, emphasized the importance of big data and its use in drug development, during an interview with Korea Biomedical Review at his office in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province, on Monday.|
In an interview with Korea Biomedical Review on Monday, Yi emphasized that the company's platforms can significantly improve decision-making for drug development in Korea as the HIRA data is perfectly tailored to represent the Korean population.
“Although the data my company receives from HIRA consist of standard data, which means that there is no personal information involved, the data is significant as it accounts for 3 percent of the total population,” Yi said. “By analyzing the big data through these platforms, we can provide domestic pharmaceutical companies with objective evidence on what kinds of drugs are needed in Korea and the competition they face in the field.”
Big data can also help smaller domestic pharmaceutical companies compete with large drugmakers on developing novel medications.
Yi said he learned that large pharmaceutical companies tended to make decisions related to drug development much faster and were able to develop drugs suited to changing trends, while small pharmaceutical companies lagged behind.
“After working at Hanmi Pharmaceutical and Sama Pharmaceutical, I realized that smaller pharmaceutical companies did not have sufficient in-house data that could be used in developing new drugs,” Yi said. “Corezetta’s big data platform aims to minimize data asymmetry between large and small pharmaceutical companies and give every pharmaceutical company an equal opportunity in developing new drugs.”
Ultimately, Corezetta’s goal is to help Korea become a world leader in drug development by providing the pharmaceutical industry with excellent analyses so that the domestic companies can develop superior drugs, Yi added.
Yi acknowledged, however, there are still considerable obstacles to utilizing HIRA's healthcare big data to its full potential.
One of the main problems is that Korean pharmaceutical companies are not accustomed to using big data in making significant decisions related to drug development compared with multinationals.
“Korean pharmaceutical companies still tend to make major drug development decision based on opinions from medical professionals related to the company or clinical research results,” Yi said. “Such decisions tend to fail for various reasons, ranging from the lack of objectivity to the belatedness of information to be used for new drug development.”
If Korean pharmaceutical companies want to lead the next healthcare revolution using big data, they need to understand correctly what big data is and start utilizing it in making critical decisions, Yi added.
Another problem is that the HIRA data provides are not consistent, which makes it impossible to use these data for long-term diseases.
“HIRA provides their data only in a one-year span, which gives no assurances that the next year’s data will have the same patient in the data. The problem is that the short-span of data cannot be used to analyze long-term illnesses, which requires more than one-year of data on specific patients,” Yi said. “This is due in part to security concerns as personal healthcare data contains sensitive information. Although recent developments, such as the blockchain, have found various ways to fortify protection, nothing can be perfectly protected.”
To resolve this issue the government has to come up with a solution that can best protect the sensitive data while increasing the amount of information released, Yi noted.
Yi stressed that both the pharmaceutical companies and government have to work together to employ the HIRA data appropriately.
“Despite the fact that Korean pharmaceutical companies are lagging behind multinational pharmaceutical companies as they differ in years of experience, Korea is currently poised to take the lead with its unchallengeable trove of healthcare data, which is recognized worldwide,” Yi said. “If the nation fails to utilize such integrated healthcare big data, however, it might fall even behind rapidly chasing developing countries.”
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