Exclusive: Berg Health, Microsoft partner on cloud-based bioanalysis tool


September 15, 2021

By Rowan Walrath – Life Sciences Reporter, Boston Business Journal

With just one partnership, Framingham bioanalytics firm Berg Health LLC is going from a small
Massachusetts company to a global firm.

At least, that’s how CEO and co-founder Niven Narain sees it. His company has just signed a first-ofits-
kind partnership with Microsoft to integrate its bioanalytics tool, Interrogative Biology, with
Azure, the tech giant’s cloud-computing platform.

The two companies will begin offering Interrogative Biology and Azure to customers as a single
package to enable fast remote analytics for biotech and pharmaceutical companies, academic
institutions, hospital systems, insurance companies and governments.

“The entry point of the data can be either in Boston or elsewhere in the world, and the analysis is
unified within the Azure environment,” Narain said. “Delivery of insights and data, whether it’s
delivering data back to a partner around the world or they’re delivering data to Berg so we can analyze
it, becomes so much more efficient. It’s almost like we became a global company just from this
relationship.”

Founded in 2006, Berg first caught Microsoft’s eye last year, when the company partnered with
Florida health system AdventHealth to figure out what factors led patients to contract Covid-19 at
varying levels of severity and mortality. By analyzing tissue samples, Berg was able to find, for
instance, that patients of color who were taking ACE inhibitors — medications that help relax the
veins and arteries to lower blood pressure — died less frequently than those who were not taking
those drugs.

Now, Narain hopes to be able to apply Berg’s capabilities to indications well beyond Covid-19 — and
anywhere in the world. He envisions physicians from faraway places uploading medical data to his
company’s platform via Azure; Berg’s software would quickly analyze that data, form a handful of
insights, then send those insights back to the physician, also via Azure.

If a facility is not capable of analyzing a blood or tissue sample in house, clinicians can send samples
to Berg overnight via a worldwide carrier the company has partnered with. Either way, he believes,
Azure will enable faster connections that lead to better, and more equitable, outcomes for patients.

“This relationship shows, when you can hybridize capability in business, how much more unique of an
opportunity and how much more special both core competencies become,” Narain said. “Azure,
without our Interrogative Biology platform, of course they’re doing well — they’re Azure. And we’re
doing our business. But when you combine things, it’s like fusion cuisine. For whatever reason, it
always tastes better.”

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