Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Arm and Nano Global build AI chip to fight infectious diseases

Steve Rogerson
December 5, 2017



Texas-based molecular data company Nano Global is collaborating with chip design firm Arm to build an artificial intelligence (AI) chip that can capture and analyse molecular data in real time.
 
The technology could help redefine how global health problems – from superbugs to infectious diseases and cancer – are conquered.
 
"In partnership with Arm, we're tackling the vast frontier of molecular data to unlock the unlimited potential of this universe," said Steve Papermaster, CEO of Nano Global. "The data our technology can acquire and process will enable us to create a safer and healthier world."
 
The system-on-chip will yield secure molecular data that can be used in the recognition and analysis of health threats caused by pathogens and other living organisms. Combined with the company's scientific technology platform, the chip leverages advances in nanotechnology, optics, AI, blockchain authentication and edge computing to access and analyse molecular-level data in real time.
 
"We believe the technology Nano Global is delivering will be an important step forward in the collective pursuit of care that improves lives through the application of technology," said Rene Haas, executive vice president at Arm. "By collaborating with Nano Global, Arm is taking an active role in developing and deploying the technologies that will move us one step closer to solving complex health challenges."
 
Additionally, Nano Global will be partnering with several institutions, including Baylor College of Medicine and National University of Singapore, on broad research initiatives in clinical, laboratory and population health environments to accelerate data collection, analysis and product development.
 
The initial development of the chip is in process with first delivery expected by 2020. The company is already adding partners to the platform.
 
The annual cost to the US health care system of antibiotic-resistant infections is over $20bn. In the USA, clostridium difficile (C.diff) alone is responsible for 250,000 infections and 14,000 deaths, adding $1bn per year.
 
Superbugs could cause up to ten million deaths per year by 2050. And reports have shown that globally up to 700,000 people die of resistant infections every year. In 2015, infectious diseases killed over 5.6 million people.
 
Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and was responsible for 8.8 million deaths in 2015. Globally, nearly one in six deaths are due to cancer. The number of new cases is expected to rise by about 70% over the next two decades.
 
These statistics are taken from reports compiled by the World Health Organisation, the US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the UK government-funded Review on Antimicrobial Resistance.
 
Nanotechnology is used in the engineering of the artificial intelligence chip as well as to develop solutions to health problems. The optics include a combination of microscopy and spectroscopy, used for molecular interaction data capture in real time.
 
Artificial intelligence, including machine learning and vision, help identify patterns of molecular data discovered to predict trends, validate identifying markers and uncover potential threats. Blockchain technology is used as a fundamental architectural element supporting data attribution, privacy and security, as well as economic mechanisms.
 
Edge computing enables optimised, local processing and analysis of molecular data and relevant parameters in real time.
 
Nano Global makes real-time molecular data addressable and scalable. The company says it is redefining how human and environmental health challenges are met by making the world its laboratory. It was founded by Papermaster, and is headquartered in Austin, Texas, with teams in Singapore, Shanghai and Bangalore.