Genohub talks up 'Kayak' for NGS services

The boom in next-generation sequencing (NGS) has given researchers a huge number of providers from which to choose. Yet without the ability to compare the price, reputation and capabilities of all providers, researchers risk wasting cash on subpar services. Genohub aims to fill this knowledge gap.

Directories of NGS providers already exist, but, Genohub CEO Pouya Razavi told Bio-IT World, they lack the ability to easily compare the services and prices offered by different companies. Genohub is built to make such comparisons easy, in much the same way Kayak allows travelers to look at the prices offered by different airlines. Making the sourcing process more transparent could ultimately drive down prices, and end reliance on word-of-mouth to find reliable providers.

Having officially started in August, Genohub now has 30 to 40 providers. There is no charge for listing on the site, with Genohub instead charging a fee each time a project it facilitated is completed. Work is underway to find the sweet spot for pricing, and expand the site. Bioinformatics is the next step, but the move has met with some skepticism. While NGS is typically standardized and priced on volume, bioinformatics projects are more tailored to client needs.

"[It is] less of a cookbook," bioinformatics consultant Martin Gollery said. Genohub has considered this in its expansion, and will allow bioinformatics providers to list services without a set price. Instead, researchers will compare providers' technical expertise, turnaround time and reputation, before contacting their favorites for a quote. While large companies may already have preferred providers or in-house capabilities, virtual biotechs and other startups could benefit from having such information easily available.

- read the Bio-IT World feature