Bluebee has raised $11 million in a Series A round. The money will go toward the development of Bluebee's cloud-based genome analysis platform, which gives users access to accelerated hardware and a network of computer clusters in an attempt to cut the time it takes to process sequencing data.
Delft, the Netherlands-based Bluebee has persuaded a clutch of investors that operate at the nexus of life sciences and IT to bankroll its ambitions. Capricorn ICT Arkiv, Korys and Biover II participated in the round, as did Buysse & Partners, the Belgian investment firm that helped Bluebee get started with a $2 million seed round last year. The quick escalation of the financing needs of Bluebee is a reflection of the development of the firm, which, having refined its technology since spinning out of Delft University of Technology and Imperial College London in 2011, is now ready to scale up.
"The time is right to shift gears. This funding will significantly boost our capacity to support our growth," Bluebee CEO Hans Cobben said in a statement. Bluebee is embarking on the expansion plan now in an attempt to ensure it is ready to capitalize on the emergence of genomics as a mainstream health discipline. "When genomics become more standard, clinicians and lab researchers will have less interest in delving into the nuts and bolts of the bioinformatics process, and will expect a secure service that is highly scalable and that just works."
Cobben sees Bluebee as the company that will meet the needs of these clinicians and researchers. Dr. Barbara Hutter, an early user of the Bluebee platform in her capacity as clinical bioinformatics team leader at the German Cancer Research Center, has said the system has resulted in a halving of the organization's bioinformatics workflow. This outcome, which amounts to an increase in capacity, is achieved by connecting sequencers to Bluebee's private cloud computing clusters, a resource that the company claims can process data faster than traditional approaches.
Bluebee is one of many companies that are trying to help organizations deal with the boom in data triggered by the arrival of Illumina's ($ILMN) HiSeq X system and the general growth in sequencing capacity. A range of different models are being pitched by the competitors, from Bluebee's cloud computing approach to Edico Genome's Dragen bio IT processor.
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