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​SK Telecom to develop AI tech for genome analysis

South Korean telco SK Telecom will work with local biotechnology firm Macrogen to develop AI tech for genome analysis to help cancer patients get the right chemotherapy treatment.

SK Telecom and biotechnology company Macrogen will develop artificial intelligence (AI) tech for use in genome analytics, the telco has announced.

The hope is to offer cancer and rare disease patients personalised diagnoses, the Korean companies said.

A person has 3 billion genome pairs, equalling 50GB to 90GB in data, they said, which makes analysis take considerable time and money.

SK Telecom said it will analyse Macrogen's large cache of genome data with AI to build a far more efficient system that uses machine learning to reduce time by a tenth.

The telco will also offer its data compression technology. Hospitals and research institutes won't have to expand their storage, which will significantly reduce costs. SK Telecom will also co-develop an integrated monitoring system for clients.

The accumulated data will also help pharmaceuticals develop new medicine, it added.

"AI will play a core role in innovating the healthcare industry," said Jang Hong-sung, head of SK Telecom's Data Business.

Last month, SK Telecom, together with Hyundai, launched a home-to-car service that uses an AI voice assistant.

In November last year, SK Telecom and the car manufacturer announced a joint $45 million AI fund to invest in promising startups.

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