NextBio moves genetic analysis software into clinical R&D territory

NextBio has opened a new chapter for its genetic data analysis platform, announcing that the Santa Clara, CA-based company has moved downstream in the R&D process with its NextBio Clinical offering. The product aims to help drug developers discover biomarkers for drugs and select the right patients for clinical trials, the company said this morning.

With the new product, NextBio gathers massive collections of "omics" data from private and public sources, including cell line, clinical, patient and population data. The company correlates the terabytes of data to aid customers with early stage drug R&D and repositioning approved drugs for new uses, according to a press release. The product unveiling follows a surge of data on human genomes available from fast and dramatically cheaper DNA sequencing experiments.

Founded in 2004, NextBio got its start in the research market, facilitating the analysis of molecular data for academics and other R&D groups. Since then, genomic data from thousands of patients has become available to the research community via efforts such as The Cancer Genome Atlas and the 1000 Genomes Project. Drugmakers can use those data, say, to find new targets for drugs or markers for response to treatments. With NextBio Clinical, the company plans to appeal more to the translational research market.

In an interview early this month, NextBio CEO Saeid Akhtari said that his company has invested heavily in Big Data technology, such as Hadoop, to handle the massive datasets that its clients want the firm to analyze. NextBio manages a massive data center and a private cloud that provides its customers the computing capacity to analyze huge amounts of data without taxing their own internal systems.

"I believe one of the best examples of Big Data is in health and life sciences because of the complexity and the amount of data we are talking about," Akhtari told FierceBiotech IT.

As the technology is refined, the CEO said, the goal is to provide genomics analysis at the point of care or in treatment settings to, say, inform doctors on the best drug for their patients based on genomic data.

- here's the release

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