Author:
Andres Tennus

University plans to set up a subsidiary, the Estonian Multiomics Company

The University of Tartu plans to establish a subsidiary, Estonian Multiomics Company (EMC). Its aim is to bring together individuals who give access to their health data and trusted companies that analyse people’s pseudonymised health data to create innovative health services and products.

According to Tõnu Esko, Vice Rector for Development of the University of Tartu, people’s participation is crucial to achieving breakthroughs in medicine. “Without the active contribution of humankind, many of today’s treatment methods and means would still be undiscovered,” he said. The EMC offers everyone the opportunity to contribute to the development of new world-changing healthcare services. This can be done by securely sharing access to your health data, responding to surveys and completing questionnaires. Thanks to the people who join the EMC, trusted companies that have undergone a thorough background check will have the opportunity to analyse the health data and, on that basis, create new health services and products.

The university will acquire a share in the companies that will analyse people’s health data with the university’s consent. “If these companies create innovative products and services with the help of the data and become successful, the university as a shareholder can earn a profit, which can be redirected to research. In the healthcare sector, development is a very long-term process, so we are certainly not announcing huge figures at this stage but try to keep people’s expectations realistic,” Esko explained.

In addition to raising potential extra funding for research, the idea is to use the data generated by the EMC in the work of researchers and for providing health services in Estonia. “Collecting comprehensive health data and creating new data from it is resource-intensive, so it makes sense to do it in partnership with private companies,” Esko added.

The vice rector for development said that preparations for establishing the EMC continue. “The rector has received a mandate from the university senate and the council, but we still need to take more preparatory steps. The healthcare sector is built on trust, so we want to move forward step by step with our partners to see what we can and cannot do yet and what needs to change. In the same way, step by step, we want to invite people who are willing to participate with their health data to this journey,” Esko added.

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