FDA Hits Tight Timeline for Start of precisionFDA Open Beta

Nick Paul Taylor | FierceBiotechIT | December 21, 2015

FDA has hit the tight timeline it set itself for the start of the precisionFDA open beta program. The system went live this week, just as the regulator forecast when it started a closed beta program last month. Taha Kass-Hout, chief health informatics officer at FDA, committed to trying to have precisionFDA ready for testing by the end of the year back when the regulator first outlined the project in August.

Taha Kass-HoutThat Kass-Hout was willing to aim for such a timeline--which at the time he described as being "very, very tight"--and then went on to achieve it is testament to the new approach the regulator is taking to IT projects. Kass-Hout, as the architect of openFDA, has played a major role in ushering in the new era of IT at FDA, which in the past had a reputation for bungling the implementation of systems.

The upshot of hitting the timeline, which was achieved in collaboration with DNAnexus, is that FDA now has the makings of a platform to support the refinement of regulation of genome testing and software. Notably, the intention is to involve the industry in this process, using precisionFDA as the focal point for the collaborative evolution of standards. Specific functions of the platform include the ability to compare two sets of variants, a feature that has been welcomed by some observers.