Dr Stephen Friend

Co-Founder of Sage Bionetworks, and 4YouandMe

Dr. Friend is the Chairman of the Board and Past-President of Sage Bionetworks, a non-profit organization that provides the tools and environment to conduct dynamic, large-scale collaborative biomedical research. He is an authority in the field of cancer biology and a pioneer in the field of the genetics of gene expression, integrating system biology approaches to complex diseases. Dr. Friend co-founded Sage Bionetworks in 2009 on the belief that successful biomedical research requires the active participation of all stakeholders. Through Sage Bionetworks, he has worked to reimagine the role of citizens in the research process and to build the tools to empower citizens to contribute both their data and expertise as they see fit. Under his leadership, Sage Bionetworks has developed an open-source technology platform, called Synapse, for data-intensive analysis, sharing and reuse, enabling researchers to perform cutting edge computational biology and research by iteratively generating and testing novel hypotheses transparently and collaboratively. Sage Bionetworks has engaged the community to crowd-source solutions to complex biomedical questions through targeted DREAM challenges, and has expanded efforts in patient centered research through its mobile health initiatives.

From 2015- 2017 he was a member of the Health Special Projects Team at Apple. He is now interested in how devices can nurture the desires of individuals to navigate towards health by asking fundamental questions about how to do individual assessments and how to provide them in ways that allow one to act on these suggestions. Prior to co-founding and leading Sage as President, Dr. Friend was Senior Vice President and Franchise Head for Oncology Research at Merck & Co., Inc. where he led Merck’s Basic Cancer Research efforts. Formerly Dr. Friend along with Dr. Hartwell founded and co-led the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s “Seattle Project”, an advanced institute for drug discovery and later they co-founded Rosetta Inpharmatics with Drs Hartwell and Hood. Dr. Friend also held faculty positions at Harvard Medical School from 1987 to 1995 and at Massachusetts General Hospital from 1990 to 1995. He received his M.D/Ph.D. from Indiana University. Dr. Friend was named an Ashoka Fellow for his work at Sage Bionetworks.