Google Ventures-backed DNAnexus forms alliance to provide genomics software to docs

DNAnexus CEO Andreas Sundquist has advanced his Mountain View, CA-based startup's plans to provide its software for managing and analyzing DNA sequencing data to medical users. Geisinger Health System and the University of California, San Francisco, are working with DNAnexus to develop its technology for use in medical clinics, which are expected to become big users of sequencing in the future as the cost of decoding DNA continues its dramatic descent.

Sundquist's company, which hauled in $15 million in a Series B round of venture capital last year from Google Ventures and TPG Biotech, has ambitious plans to expand the use of its cloud-based platform to support a variety of sequencing information. In an interview with FierceBiotech IT last month, the CEO discussed the need for a platform that can unite huge amounts of sequencing data and a wide variety of software tools to manage and analyze the information. In partnership with Geisinger and UCSF, the company can tackle the challenge of developing workflows for sequencing data that apply to clinical uses of the info.

"In the past few years, the pace of development in DNA sequencing technology has been astounding, doubling in capacity even faster than the classic Moore's law of computing," UCSF's Dr. David Erle said in a statement. "That has a huge impact on our ability to understand both health and disease, but it also poses a formidable challenge. In many cases, scientists are now limited more by their ability to store and analyze the data than they are by their ability to generate it."

With the cost of sequencing a whole genome down to around $4,000, researchers and biopharma companies are ramping up their use of the technology, requiring petabytes of storage capacity and IT infrastructures that most small research and clinical groups lack. DNAnexus has been providing customers at Stanford University, London-based drugmaker AstraZeneca ($AZN) and Pfizer ($PFE) with its cloud-based technology that doesn't require as much internal infrastructure to support and manage.

"I actually think that the bioinformatics space is potentially as big as some of the big opportunities we've seen in the past," Sundquist told FierceBiotech IT last month in San Francisco. "This is something that in three years is going to effect millions of people. In 10 years, I'd be surprised if every single person in the developed world didn't have their genome sequenced."

- here's the release
- see GEN's article