Paypal co-founder backs genomics data access startup

The rise of omics data in R&D has increased the overlap between biotech and Silicon Valley-style tech startups, with Flatiron Health's recent $130 million round making it a standout example. This week, SolveBio took its first steps on the path established by Flatiron by raising cash from the co-founder of Paypal other other leading tech investors. 

Flatiron's co-founders Nat Turner and Zach Weinberg contributed to the $2 million fundraising round, which also attracted top tech VC shop Andreessen Horowitz, SV Angel and Quora founder Charlie Cheever. New York-based SolveBio will use the cash to double its headcount to 10 people to give it the programming capacity it needs to advance its technology. The system is already in private beta testing. SolveBio is pitching itself as the interface between people who need health reference data, and the databases in which it is stored. 

As many have bemoaned for years, such data is stored in multiple locations, many of which use different formats and are to some degree locked to those who need the information. By creating an application programming interface (API), SolveBio hopes to make it easier to access reference data. "Instead of having to download all of that data into a database themselves, they [would] just write a few lines of code, and then that application calls our application, and our application gives them the right kind of data they need," SolveBio co-founder and CEO Mark Kaganovich told Xconomy.

A hospital is already using the system to build a diagnostic application for exome sequencing. Tapping SolveBio to act as a technological middleman between its R&D team and the data they need should cut the need for the hospital to run a large, in-house programming operation. This is the initial selling point of SolveBio's technology, but the company also plans to expand its offering to include data sets that aren't available elsewhere.  

- read Xconomy's feature