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Biotia to pilot AI and sequencing-based pathogen and drug resistance detection technology in Bumrungrad International Hospital

Posted October 11, 2018

Bumrungrad International Hospital partners with Biotia, a health tech company based in New York City, to pilot artificial intelligence (AI), sequencing-based technology to revolutionize pathogen and drug resistance detection.

Antimicrobial resistance of microorganisms is an increasing international threat. The WHO has called for urgent initiatives to address the situation, including the use of novel diagnostics and approaches to identify organisms and their antibiotic resistance characteristics more rapidly. These improvements will give clinicians the relevant information to provide more timely and appropriate treatment for nascent and established infections. Early and appropriate intervention will improve patient outcomes.

2 buildings of the Bumrungrad International Hospital Campus. Image credit: Teesal via Wikimedia, Public Domain

Hospitals still largely use culturing to identify pathogens and antibiotic resistance, technology which has not fundamentally changed since the 1800s. While useful, this approach is slow and labor-intensive, and often results in delays in diagnosis or even undiagnosed cases.

However, next-generation sequencing (NGS) combined with microbial identification software offers a cutting edge, faster, and more accurate solution to identify and characterize microorganisms. This technology has immediate applications in infectious disease diagnostics and outcomes, and pathogen screening for surveillance to decrease the high rates of hospital-acquired infections, which currently affect up to 1 in 25 hospital patients (CDC-HAI (US)).

Today, Bumrungrad International Hospital and Biotia, are announcing a partnership that ushers in a new era of rapid, sequenced-based pathogen detection; 1000 samples will be collected and analysed to establish the technology at Bumrungrad International Hospital Clinical Laboratories. In a public event at the hospital, the organizations jointly present how they will advance the way that hospitals identify organisms by implementing real-time, portable sequencers on-site and Biotia AI pathogen identification software.

This will lead to a significant reduction in the time it takes to identify pathogens, antimicrobial resistant markers, and virulence factors – from days and weeks to only hours – with the anticipated outcome of generating more clinically informative data which will enable a greater control over managing infections and managing, and minimizing, the risk of drug resistance. While these technologies are not yet standard for clinical applications, this implementation represents a major step towards adoption of sequencing technology for infectious disease diagnostics, and one of the first sequencing-on-site hospital-acquired infection control program for a large hospital.

Bumrungrad International Hospital is a recognized leader in patient focused care and is committed to the adoption of novel and new technologies to ensure that our patients receive the highest level of appropriate care’ said Bumrungrad International Hospital CEO, Dr Somsak Chaovisitsaree. ‘Our collaboration with Biotia reflects this commitment. By utilizing this technology, Bumrungrad will confidently be able to offer the most appropriate treatment for any infectious diseases detected; improving patient outcomes and minimizing the risk of antimicrobial resistance development”.

Biotia has created a suite of solutions for hospitals to rapidly identify pathogens, antimicrobial resistance, and virulence markers more rapidly and robustly than standard solutions. In this year-long collaboration, Biotia will implement its pathogen detection solutions including optimized laboratory techniques, advanced sequencing technology created by Oxford Nanopore, Biotia AI software, ChelseaTM and databases, with a subset of samples also being orthogonally validated by culture, PCR, and Illumina sequencing.

“At Biotia we specialize in translating cutting edge pathogen research into commercial products for hospitals,” said Biotia CEO, Dr. Niamh O’Hara. “We are excited to work with Bumrungrad International Hospital, a forward-looking hospital, to move this technology towards wide clinical adoption.”


Biotia is a health tech company, launched from Weill Cornell Medicine and Cornell Tech, located in New York, NY that leverages DNA sequencing-based technology and proprietary AI-powered software to rapidly and accurately identify microorganisms and antimicrobial resistance. Their mission is to eradicate hospital acquired infections and deploy the leading reference library of microbes worldwide. The founding team is composed of Dr. Niamh B. O’Hara (CEO), Dr. Christopher E. Mason (Global Director and Associate Professor at Weill Cornell Medicine, who is an equity stakeholder and consultant to Biotia), and Dr. Rachid Ounit (CTO), experts who have pioneered advances in the identification and mapping of microbes and antimicrobial resistance.


‘Bumrungrad International is an internationally accredited, multi-specialty hospital located in the heart of Bangkok, Thailand. Founded in 1980, today it is the largest private hospital in Southeast Asia, with 580 beds and over 27 specialty centers. Bumrungrad offers state-or-the-art diagnostic, therapeutic and intensive care facilities in a one-stop medical center. Bumrungrad serves over a million patients annually. Over 520,000 are internationals. They include thousands of expatriates who live in Bangkok and nearby countries, plus visitors from 190 countries around the world who come here for treatment.

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