Webinar recap: The technical challenges of biomarker-based pre-screening

sano biomarkers

In this webinar, Patrick Short (Co-Founder and CEO at Sano Genetics) and Will Jones (Co-Founder and CTO at Sano Genetics) discuss the technical challenges of biomarker-based pre-screening. Patrick and Will touch on the importance of running large-scale clinical research programs that are focused on biomarkers, the challenges of finding a central source of truth for participant numbers, how best to ensure compliance across different jurisdictions, and how to engage participants in long-term programs.

The link to the full webinar is here; a brief summary is below for easy reference.

About the speakers


Will Jones

Will Jones is Co-Founder and CTO at Sano Genetics. Will's expertise lies in developing software systems to manage complex data and processes. He has a passion for using technology to revolutionise the field of medical research and make it more accessible to the public.



Patrick Short, PhD

Patrick Short, PhD is the Co-Founder and CEO of Sano Genetics, a company revolutionising the medical research participant journey with more engaging digital experiences, easy-at-home testing, and a privacy-first approach.


Highlights from the webinar

Why are biomarkers both important and challenging in the drug development process?

Biomarkers, such as genetics or other forms of omics, can be used to separate patients into treatment arms based on something that is measured by that biomarker. This approach can be applied to every form of genetic or non-genetic medicine and can help move towards a world where treatments are more precise and tailored to the individual.

A major challenge to this biomarker-based approach is the need for pre-screening to overcome the chicken and egg problem of the healthcare system not paying for testing until there's an approved drug, but it being hard to get drugs approved until patients with testing are found. To overcome these challenges, one suggestion is coordinating a number of different organisations to do clinical trial patient recruitment, genetic testing, and counselling.


How can complex clinical programs be built in a modular, scalable way?

Another focus of Patrick and Will’s discussion was the importance of finding reusable concepts and sequences to build complex flows from the ground up. By creating well-defined steps in a user's experience (such as obtaining e-consent, asking questions, or providing information) and layering in various branches depending on previous actions, it is possible to build complex programs in a modular and scalable way. This helps ensure compliance and provides a great participant experience.



This discussion focused on the technical challenges of biomarker-based pre-screening, providing key learnings that apply to the DNA research and drug development process. Some of these challenges can be addressed by leveraging reusable concepts and sequences to build complex flows. If done correctly, the benefits are many, not least of which is building a community around the therapy being developed before it’s approved.

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