UPDATED: Google VC unit takes lead role DNAnexus' $15M round, hosting huge DNA database

Google ($GOOG) has staked a claim in the rapidly expanding genomics field-again. DNAnexus, a provider of online tools for managing and analyzing genomic data, revealed today that Google Ventures is co-lead investor in its $15 million second-round financing. On top of the deal, Google and DNAnexus are joining forces to host a an extensive trove of DNA data available.

While boosting Mountain View, CA-based DNAnexus' profile among the increasing number of firms competing in DNA analysis software game, the deal gives the firm capital to pump into product development and hiring talent. There's been explosive growth in the amount of genomic data generated with faster and cheaper methods of sequencing DNA, and DNAnexus has been developing online tools and technology to enable researchers to analyze vast amounts of DNA without requiring them to store the data with their own hardware.

Google brings valuable capital and technology to aid DNAnexus' goal to providing tools that enable scientists to extract key insights from the tsunami of raw data on genes. In the two companies' collaboration, DNAnexus is tapping Google's cloud storage technology to host a mirror of data contained in the Sequence Read Archive (SRA), the humongous DNA database for which the National Center for Biotechnology Information has suggested it will withdraw support due to federal cutbacks. The database will be one of the largest tenants in Google's cloud storage system, according to DNAnexus. Scientists will be able to access the SRA data for free, Bio-IT World reported.

DNAnexus charges money, however, for its software that manages sequencing information for groups that produce such data and web-based analysis software that researchers use to in studies to understand the data. Bullish about the firm's prospects, TPG Biotech co-led the second-round financing, which included contributions from First Round Capital, SoftTech VC, K9 Ventures and Felicis Ventures. Dow Jones VentureWire reported that its records show that DNAnexus raised $1.5 million in its Series A round.

Google Ventures has made previous investments in personal genomics firm 23andMe, which provides gene analysis products for the consumer market.

- here's the release
- read more in Bio-IT World's report
- and VentureWire's article

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Editor's Note: This story was updated to clarify that DNAnexus and Google are hosting a mirror of the SRA database, not the actual SRA, for which the NCBI still has hosting responsibilities. At DNAnexus' request, the headline was also updated to specify that Google's VC unit invested in the company. That point was clear in the story, however.